Mistakes made by medical professionals can cost people their lives. Because of this, doctors and pharmacists know that they need to be very careful when working with medications. However, sometimes serious errors still occur. Recently, a Texas malpractice suit cost a woman her life and a doctor $380,000. According to San Antonio Express-News, a physician’s poor penmanship led to a patient’s fatal overdose.
Dialysis patient Dalia Hernandez, 72, had her toe on her left foot amputated at Northeast Baptist Hospital in the fall of 2011, and Dr. Flavio Alvarez—a kidney specialist—prescribed 10 millimoles of potassium. But days later, Hernandez had her right foot amputated—this caused the doctor to change his mind on the drug dosage. He wanted to increase the potassium dose to 20 millimoles, according to his testimony in court.
Instead of Dr. Alvarez writing a new prescription, he tried to write a “2” over the “1” to change the prescription from 10 millimoles to 20 millimoles of potassium. However, this mistake resulted in nurses and pharmacists interpreting the prescription as 120 millimoles—a fatal dosage. While Dr. Alvarez admitted to being negligent in writing the prescription, his attorney argued that the other trained professionals—nurses and pharmacists—should have not taken this high of a dosage seriously.
As a result of Dalia Hernandez’ death, her five adult daughters filed a Texas malpractice lawsuit against the doctor. At the hearing, the jury ordered the doctor to pay $380,000 in damages to the deceased’s family. While the family was pursuing a higher amount for their losses and mental anguish, the jury gave them less because they found Dr. Alvarez to be only 10 percent at fault. The jury believes the hospital holds the other 90 percent of the blame, and they have already reached an undisclosed settlement with the family.
Sadly, Dalia Hernandez’s unnecessary death is not unique. Many people die every year from medical mistakes. If your loved one has died as a result of a medical professional’s error, contact the experienced Texas pharmacy malpractice attorneys at Kennedy Hodges today at 888-526-7616 for a free initial consultation—we’re standing by to help.