Nebraska Medical Center (NMC) in Omaha has been named in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of a child who died at the Center in March of last year after receiving 10 times the amount of heparin she was prescribed. The 23-month-old child was in the hospital for an infection following a liver, pancreas and small bowel transplant she received there in December 2009.
The parents filed the lawsuit, also naming a dialysis center that provides nurses for NMC, claiming their child’s condition had been improving when a nurse mistakenly gave the girl the wrong dosage of heparin. Heparin was administered intravenously over a five-hour period.
According to the lawsuit, the overdose caused severe bleeding in the toddler’s brain, excruciating pain during the next 48 hours and, ultimately her death. The hospital acknowledged that an overdose of heparin contributed to the toddler’s death, but said it may not have been the sole cause.
Overdoses of heparin, which are believed to have caused dozens of deaths over the last several years, led the Joint Commission to issue a safety alert in 2008 urging hospitals to adopt strict measures to prevent such errors.