Apology: Statements of Fault Made by Staff after Medication Error Did Not Establish Causation

July 24, 2014 | Healthcare Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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​An appeals court in Utah ruled that while statements made by hospital staff in relation to the misadministration of epinephrine to the plaintiff admitted fault, the statements did not indicate that the misadministration caused injury to the plaintiff, and as such, the plaintiff was not prejudiced by the trial court's erroneous decision to exclude these statements from the trial.

The plaintiff went to the defendant hospital's emergency department (ED) after experiencing an allergic reaction to over-the-counter medication. The ED physician who evaluated the plaintiff ordered several medications, including epinephrine, to be administered subcutaneously and two other medications to be delivered intravenously. A nurse inadvertently administered the epinephrine intravenously with the other medications, causing the plaintiff to turn pale, cry out in pain, vomit, and experience heart palpitations, nausea, and anxiety. The nurse informed the physician, and the plaintiff was...

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