St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida is being sued by a pregnant woman for injuries her baby suffered when the hospital mistakenly gave the woman a drug which speeds up labor. The Miami Herald reports that the woman, Tesome Sampson, gave birth two months early and her baby suffered brain damage as a result of the drug. She and baby’s father, Frank Guy, filed suit for negligence against the hospital, its owner Tenet Healthcare, and other hospital personnel, claiming $3.5 million in medical costs.
In the hospital’s statement, it apologized and acknowledged that Sampson was given the wrong medication, and that the mistake was “an unfortunate error”. The drug, Prostin E2, has been approved by the FDA , and is commonly used for the termination of pregnancies and expelling uterine contents, and can be used to induce labor.
Sampson was admitted to the hospital on August 25, 2008, 24 weeks pregnant. She was put on bed rest, but ten days later was given the wrong drug and suffered severe cramps. Sampson was given a portable toilet, where the baby was delivered.
Hospitals are not impervious to error. In 1999, an Institute of Medicine study found that about 98,000 people die every year from medical errors. These errors can be attributed to a number of factors such as miscommunication or failure of communication between hospital personnel and inefficient safety systems. Human error also plays a part, sometimes due to hospital staff work long hours.
However, the consequences of such mistakes can be life-altering, or even lead to death. Our firm has handled cases such as this where a careless error, one that could have been easily avoided, has taken the most precious of life away- a child. Furthermore, medical errors can attribute to millions of dollars spent on additional care needed to treat medical errors, rehabilitative treatment, increased medical malpractice insurance costs, and litigation expenses. Hospitals must do their part at all levels of administration to implement appropriate measures to ensure safety of their patients.