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53-Year-Old Nursing Home Resident Dies After Being Administered Oxycodone That’s 20 Times Too Potent

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A resident in a New Hope, Minnesota nursing home died after being given a dosage of oxycodone that's 20 times stronger than the prescribed dose of an opioid painkiller, according to a report from the Minnesota Department of Health.

A reportedly "very busy" nurse mistakenly administered the dosage to the patient, which lead to death.

The nursing home resident in question was identified as Gary A. Schmidt, 53 years old, from Plymouth. He was originally admitted for cancer treatment obstructive pulmonary disease, with their dosage of painkillers changing frequently.

Nursing Home Resident Dies After Nurse Gives Him Wrong Oxycodone Dosage

On the night of his death, the patient rated their pain as 10 on the scale — he had a physician's order to be given liquid oxycodone if he feels pain — and was promptly given painkillers. But the nurse gave the resident 600 milligrams of oxycodone instead of 30, which, as mentioned, is 20 times too much. He was later found unresponsive on the floor at North Ridge Health and Rehabilitation.

The nurse practitioner and supervisor tried to resuscitate the resident, but were unsuccessful. By the time paramedics arrived, he was already dead, according to the investigation of the state's Health Department.

The facility was blamed for the accidental death, discovering that North Ridge Health and Rehabilitation didn't have a system that could detect changes in how powerful painkillers and other sensitive medication are administered, which is a clear violation of Minnesota Department of Health procedures, as Fox-owned KMSP reports. Additionally, the nurse was faulted for giving the wrong dosage of oxycodone.

North Ridge Health and Rehabilitation

The Health Department fined the facility an undisclosed amount, and the nursing home has made required correction in its medication procedures. The nurse admitted to administering the incorrect dosage of oxycodone. They said they did not verify the concentration of the dosage because they were busy with multiple patients.

Diane Willette, administrator of North Ridge Health and Rehabilitation, said Schmidt's death was "a tragic accident," and that the facility handled it "swiftly." In addition, she claims that the facility has put in place systems that will prevent a similar incident from ever happening again moving forward.

"The wellbeing of our patients and residents is our number one priority here at North Ridge Health and Rehab, and I am extremely proud of the compassionate care we provide for the community and we are privileged to serve," said Willette in a statement.

The Minnesota Health Department report states that according to facility records, the staff was reeducated on the facility's medication administration procedures and policy following the tragic incident.

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