Mayo hospital concludes probe

By Diana Bowley, BDN Staff
Posted July 15, 2010, at 9:52 p.m.

DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine— An in-house investigation at Mayo Regional Hospital into last month’s death of a local man in the emergency room has resulted in no discipline or firing of those responsible for mistakenly giving him a massive overdose of medication, according to a hospital spokesman.

The investigation involved the death of Timothy Harvey, 51, of Atkinson, who went to the emergency room on June 4 suffering from an acute allergic reaction but died later after receiving 10 times the normal dose of epinephrine, according to Ralph Gabarro, chief executive officer of Mayo.

After the death, hospital officials immediately launched an investigation, which now has been completed but did not result in any disciplinary actions, and none is anticipated, Tom Lizotte, the hospital’s marketing and development director, said Thursday. The hospital has declined to name the doctors and nurses who were involved in the case.

“It’s largely a case of human error, and punishing people after the fact is not the approach that is recommended in this case,” Lizotte said. “You want people to step forward when mistakes are made so that they can report these things, and if you don’t do that, then you have a chilling effect on other people coming forward.”

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services will conduct its own investigation beginning July 20 when officials visit the hospital, according to Lizotte. He said DHHS will review the hospital’s investigation and can get more information from Mayo if it needs to, he said.

In August, DHHS is expected to issue a report that could recommend steps the hospital might take to avoid such a tragic mistake in the future, according to Lizotte. He noted that Mayo has changed its procedures for the storing and handling of epinephrine.

http://bangordailynews.com/2010/07/15/news/mayo-hospital-concludes-probe/ printed on August 22, 2014