Dosage mistake causes baby brain damage, hospital settles for $7M

In a recent post, we wrote about how hard limits on IV pumps can prevent medication errors. But even hard limits cannot prevent a dosage mistake if an adult pump is used on an infant while being treated at a Pittsburgh hospital. It is imperative to use the proper equipment for the proper purpose to prevent patients from suffering a serious injury. A medical malpractice suit that was recently settled in Illinois is a prime example of this.

The family of a girl who suffered brain damage after her birth in 2003 because of a dosage mistake will receive $7 million from the hospital at fault. The hospital did not use a neonatal IV pump to administer fluids to the newborn, but rather an IV pump intended for adults. Medical professionals did not program any soft or hard limits on the pump either. As a result, the newborn girl received 405 cc per hour rather than the intended 4.5 cc per hour. The dosage mistake was not noticed until 46 minutes later. By then, her blood volume had increased by 250 percent, her weight increased by 20 percent and she had sustained brain damage. Now, 10 years later, the girl has developmental delays and requires special education.

Medication errors can happen for any number of reasons.  Whether the dosage mistake is a result of a negligent nurse, a pharmacists failure to read doctor’s handwriting properly or something else, it can have devastating effects. Anyone who has suffered a serious injury from a medication error may want to speak with an attorney.

Source:, “Edward Hospital settles baby overdose suit for $7 million,” Sun-Times Media Wire, Dec. 16, 2013.