Nurse Case Study: Incorrect IV push of potassium chloride.

Potassium chloride by IV drip ordered for woman, but family claims IV push of potassium chloride given – death – $250,000 verdict.

The plaintiff’s decedent, age 69, went to the emergency room in February 2001. An IV drip of potassium chloride was ordered.
The plaintiff claimed that a nurse came into her room and administered an IV push of potassium chloride. Within moments, the decedent yelled that her arm was in pain. She began to froth at the mouth and deteriorated. The woman then died with her family stating that she kicked in pain.
The plaintiff alleged negligence in giving the potassium chloride by an IV push. The hospital admitted that it would have been error to give a push of potassium chloride, but denied that this was done.
The hospital argued that potassium chloride was not even available in the emergency room, but was mixed and diluted in the pharmacy and then given by an IV drip. The hospital also argued that the cause of death was unknown due to a lack of autopsy. The family had wanted an autopsy performed, but it was not done because the body had been improperly stored. The plaintiff’s attorney’s main argument in the case was that either the nurse who denied giving the push had lied, or everyone else in the case (including a physician friend of the decedent who had been present when the IV was administered) was a liar.
The attorney also presented evidence that potassium chloride was available in the emergency room. According to Reports a $250,000 verdict was returned for pre-death suffering only.
With permission from Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts; Lewis Laska, Editor, 901 Church St., Nashville, TN 37203-3411, 1-800-298-6288.

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