September 10, 2014

Nurse could face four years in prison for covering up medication error

Daily Briefing

    A nurse who allegedly gave a patient morphine instead of a muscle relaxant and then tried to cover up her mistake has been indicted on felony endangerment charges, according to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

    Medical errors may be the country's third-leading cause of death

    According to court documents, Vicki Price in February 2012 gave a patient at Bayview Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Island Park, New York, morphine instead of a prescribed muscle relaxant.

    The wheelchair-bound patient, a 46-year-old man with spina bifida, lost consciousness shortly after and was admitted to Long Beach Medical Center. The patient was treated with Narcan, a medication used to counter an opiate overdose, and was released five days later.

    Throughout the ordeal, Price did not reveal the mistake and attempted to cover it up by falsifying documents, officials say.

    Price is no longer employed at the nursing home and officials have since changed the facility's name to South Point Plaza Nursing & Rehabilitation Center.

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    Price last week was arraigned and has been charged with one felony count of endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person, one misdemeanor count of endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person, one misdemeanor count of wilful violation of the public health laws, and two felony counts of falsifying business records.

    If convicted, Price faces up to four years in prison. She is due back in court in mid-October (North County Gazette, 9/8; Mullaney, McKnight's, 9/5; Dowdy, NewsDay, 9/3).

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