Perhaps no greater loss can be suffered in the human experience than that of a parent losing a child. That loss is immeasurably compounded when the death of an infant or young child was preventable, as when the child’s wrongful death as the result of medical malpractice. One area in which there is an emerging pattern of pediatric medical malpractice is the use of heparin in infants and children. To speak with an experienced heparin medical malpractice and wrongful death lawyer with Passen & Powell, call (312) 527-4500 for a Free Consultation.
Just this month, a 23-month-old girl was the latest victim of a hospital-administered heparin overdose. The girl, Almariah Duque, was administered heparin after developing an infection as a complication of an otherwise successful transplant surgery at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. The hospital has admitted that its mistake, and the consequent overdose of heparin, “may have contributed” to Almariah’s death.
The Chicago wrongful death attorneys of Passen & Powell are troubled by this frank admission of the dangers of using heparin for pediatric care. More troubling is our knowledge that this is not an isolated incident, but part of a larger pattern of unnecessary injury and death.
Heparin, a drug used as a blood thinner, is formulated and packaged for use in adults. Thus, when the drug is used in infants and children, dosing is difficult for a number of reasons. Perhaps most importantly, mixing cannot be done automatically, but dosages must be calculated and mixed manually by a pharmacist or nurse.
Additionally, the labeling on the vials of the drug may also be confusing. None other than actor Dennis Quaid has filed a lawsuit against Baxter International (the maker of heparin), alleging that the confusing labels on heparin vials make it hard for nurses and other hospital employees to determine the correct dose to use in a particular case. Quaid’s life was touched by heparin-related medical malpractice when his twin children, admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, were administered the drug in a dose 1,000 times what they should have received.
Our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys were relieved that Quaid’s twin children survived their heparin overdose. Many others, however, do not. Quaid’s children were overdosed on heparin in 2007. In 2006, Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana administered overdoses of heparin to six premature infants, three of whom did not survive. In 2008, 14 infants in the NICU, or neonatal intensive care unit, of a Texas hospital were administered an improper dose of heparin. Two of those infants did not survive.
It is unfortunate that Almariah’s parents have decided not to take action against the hospital, although they expressed their wish that the hospital would learn from their mistake. While it is certainly understandable that they would wish to move forward and attempt to put their lives back together after this tragedy, only when negligent hospitals and doctors are held accountable to their victims can we be sure that they will take pains to prevent future problems. The experienced Illinois wrongful death lawyers of Passen & Powell have a proven track record of holding negligent hospitals accountable, giving justice to victims and ensuring meaningful change.
For a free consultation with a top-rated Chicago personal injury lawyer at Passen & Powell, call us at (312) 527-4500.