During a surprise inspection of a Tennessee hospital, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has learned that a nurse gave a wrong drug to a patient, resulting in the latter's demise.
The Vanderbilt University Medical Center or VUMC in Nashville is in hot water after the CMS found out that a nurse had accidentally killed a patient in December last year. Because of this, the federal health agency has initially put the facility under "immediate jeopardy" status up until they corrected deficiencies.
As of Nov. 30, the CMS announced that it accepted the plan of correction submitted by the hospital. As such, the reimbursements will continue.
What Went Down
Based on the CMS report, the unnamed patient was admitted on Dec. 24, 2017, due to a severe headache, a result of the hematoma in the brain. Two days later, the person was taken to the radiology department for a Positron Emission Tomography scan.
The patient then asked for a drug that could help relieve his anxiety stemming from claustrophobia, so the attending physician ordered for 2 milligrams of anti-anxiety medicine Versed. However, the nurse mistakenly gave 10 mg of Vecuronium, a high dosage for a drug that is given for muscle relaxation during surgery.
"Patients can experience intense fear when they can no longer breathe. They can also sense pain," the report said of what the Vecuronium is capable of doing.
Just moments later, the patient suffered a cardiac arrest and died.
Patients At Risk
The hospital is not just responsible for the medication error that happened but it is highly criticized after the CMS had found out that it did not report the death to the Tennessee Department of Health.
The report stated the instance did not only mean the hospital failed in ensuring that proper procedures were followed by its personnel but it also put their patients at risk, VUMC, meanwhile, acknowledged in a statement that the blunder happened because the nurse "bypassed multiple safety mechanisms that were in place to prevent such errors."
The hospital went on to say that they already informed the family of the victim after the error had been determined.