In the summer of 2018, six patients at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, New York, developed a rare infection after they received injectable opioids diluted with tap water. This resulted in the patients developing bloodstream infections with Sphingomonas paucimobilis.
Thankfully, all of the patients were treated with antibiotics and no deaths resulted from the infections, though some patients later died from causes related to their cancer. However, the question still remained: how did a bacterium, which naturally lives in soil and water, find its way into the bloodstreams of these patients?
Doctors immediately suspected that medication administered to the patients must have been contaminated, and it was later found out that a nurse had tampered with the syringes of hydromorphone used to administer injectable opioids to patients for pain management. The nurse removed some of the narcotics from the syringes for her own use and replaced the missing drugs with tap water.
Ultimately, the outbreak was due to “drug diversion,” something that happens when a person illegally uses medication meant for someone else.
Though the nurse responsible has not been named in the nursing negligence lawsuit, the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center has announced that a former nurse has been similarly charged with stealing pain medications. She faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
It is a nurse’s duty to provide quality nursing services and adhere to the standard of care of the nursing profession. Nursing negligence occurs when this does not happen, and is often grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
As can be seen with the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center case, a series of nursing negligences occurred which resulted in drug diversion and the infection of six patients:
- The nurse failed to follow the standards of care of the nursing profession
- There was poor communication amongst nurses which is how the problem remained undetected
- The nurse failed to maintain documentation which would have revealed the drug diversion
- The nurse failed to assess and monitor the patients which would have revealed their deteriorating state sooner due to the bloodstream infections
If you or a family member live in NYC and have experienced a similar situation due to nursing negligence then you should consult with a qualified NYC medical malpractice lawyer. As a professional, they will be able to explain nursing negligence to you and the criteria that need to be met for a nursing medical malpractice case to be brought forward. These criteria differ between states and your NYC medical malpractice attorney will help you prove the following within the specified statute of limitations for NYC:
- That the nurse had a duty to take care of you or your family which was within their scope and capacity
- That the nurse breached this duty
- That you or your family member sustained an injury as a result of the nurse’s failure to adhere to their duty
- That a causal relationship exists between the nurse’s breach of duty and your or your family member’s injury
If you believe that you or a family member may have been a victim of nursing negligence, please contact the medical malpractice lawyers of Rosenburg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff LLP in NYC.
You can speak to one of our medical malpractice attorneys who are always ready to listen by calling 1-866-516-5887 for a free, confidential consultation.