Children's Hospital nurse under investigation ends own life

Children's Hospital nurse under investigation ends own life
SEATTLE -- A nurse involved in a case under investigation at Seattle Children's Hospital has committed suicide.

KOMO News has learned Kimberly Hiatt took her own life earlier this month. At the time, she was still under investigation by the state in connection with the death of a critically-ill baby at the hospital.

The investigation began with the death of little Kaia Zautner last September. Kaia was being kept alive with the help of a Berlin heart, but she suffered a setback when a nurse in the hospital's intensive care unit gave her 10 times the normal dose of calcium chloride. She died several days later.

Then a Problem Solvers investigation revealed a series of medication errors at Children's. Following the KOMO News story, the medical director addressed the issue.

"We failed in our effort to provide safe care and we are devastated," said Dr. David Fisher during a news conference.

In the case of Kaia's death, the hospital determined the medication error occurred as a result of a mathematical miscalculation.

"As medical director, I am accountable for the safety and the care we take," Fisher said.

Children's launched a hospital-wide retraining program and the state investigated. It cleared Children's of any system-wide problems regarding Kaia's death.

But the State Nursing Board continued to investigate the actions of Hiatt, a registered nurse. That investigation has been closed following her suicide earlier this month.

Seattle Children's has never released Hiatt's status, whether she'd been reprimanded or terminated following Kaia's death.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the hospital released a brief statement sending their condolences to Hiatt's family and reiterating that the hospital does not discuss personnel matters.