Family sues after loved one dies from medication
NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, Fla. (WSVN) -- A South Florida family has filed a lawsuit after a nurse allegedly gave their loved one a dose of medicine that eventually took his life.
Seventy-nine-year-old Richard Smith was full of life. Smith and his wife Lula were married for 55 years and raised four kids of their own and raised 10 others who had nowhere to go last year. "We met in college 57 years ago. We were married 55 years," said his wife Lula.
Smith was feeling a shortness of breath and was admitted to North Shore Hospital on July, 30, 2010. When Smith's son Marc arrived at the hospital, he said a doctor told him, "I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but the nurse gave your dad the wrong medication, and it sent him into respiratory arrest. He grabbed the wrong package," said Marc.
According to the lawsuit filed by the family, the nurse, instead of giving Smith the antacid Pepcid for an upset stomach, gave Smith Pancuronium, a drug administered to inmates who are put to death.
Family attorney Andrew Yaffa said the nurse should not be working with patients. "But this nurse, as we sit here today, knowing the multiple levels of neglect, is still working in that ICU on patients just like Richard Smith," said Yaffa.
Smith was resuscitated but died nearly a month later.
North Shore Medical Center released a statement, which read in part: "Our hearts go out to the Smith family for their loss. This was a tragic event that was immediately self-reported to the agency for health care administration. We conducted an internal review and have several new processes in place to ensure a situation like this doesn't happen again."
Smith's daughter Vickie Jackson said they are still searching for answers and say they hope another family will not have to endure the pain of loosing a loved one the way they did. "I'm mad because it seems like you can take a life, and you don't have to answer for it," said Jackson.
(Copyright 2011 by Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)