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Medication Overdose: Boston Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Claims Massachusetts General Hospital Gave 76-Year-Old Woman the Wrong Blood Thinner

The family of Geraldine Oswald believes that she died because of a medical mistake. The 76-year-old Revere woman died last year after she was given too much blood thinner while in the care of Massachusetts General Hospital. Now, they are suing for Boston wrongful death and medical malpractice. Defendants include the hospital, two nurses, and five doctors.

According to Oswald’s daughter Donna Beatrice, her mother fell and broke her shoulder last year. After she developed a minor urinary tract infection, a nurse at the hospital gave her “thirty times more” Lepirudin than the dose that she should have received. Oswald ended up bleeding internally for 12 hours before she died. Beatrice’s Boston medical malpractice lawsuit claims that at the end, the elderly patient started bleeding through her body’s orifices and became unresponsive. The family contends that doctors didn’t realize how serious her condition was until it was too late.

Hospital officials have admitted to the Massachusetts medication mistake. They say that it could have been prevented. Per a report that it gave to the family, the hospital admits that the day nurse knew what dose to give Oswald but made a mistake when putting the dose into the IV pump.

Since Oswald’s death, the hospital says it has put into place new guidelines for giving patients Lepirudin. The state’s Board of Nursing is looking into the part nursing played in Oswald’s death.

Medication Mix-Ups
According to a 2006 report from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, medication mistakes are all too common. Those that occur in hospitals alone-approximately 400,000 a year-cost an additional $3.5 billion to treat. The Institute of Medicine says that about 7,000 fatalities caused by preventable medical mistakes at hospitals happen every year.

Common causes of medication mix-ups:
• Illegibly written prescriptions • Dosage errors • Confusing drug labeling • Unknown patient allergies • Distracted/tired hospital workers
MGH faces suit over drug error that killed woman, Boston.com, March 10, 2011
Family files wrongful death suit against MGH, NECN, March 10, 2011
Medication Errors Injure 1.5 Million People and Cost Billions of Dollars Annually, Institute of Medicine, July 20, 2006

Related Web Resources:
Medication Errors, Campaign Zero
Massachusetts General Hospital

Lepirudin

More Blog Posts:
Boston Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Against Rebecca Riley’s Psychiatrist to Move Forward, Boston Injury Lawyer, March 30, 2010
Father Sues Harvard for Massachusetts Wrongful Death After Student who was Prescribed Medication Commits Suicide, Boston Injury Lawyer, December 4, 2009
Massachusetts Hospitals Racked Up Over 300 Medical Mistakes, Including Fall Accidents, Medication Errors, and Surgical Malpractice, In 2008, Boston Injury Lawyer, April 9, 2009