State confirms another fatal medication error at Children's

State confirms another fatal medication error at Children's »Play Video
SEATTLE -- A baby has died as a result of a medication error while being transported to Children's Hospital for a transplant, the state Department of Health has confirmed.

State officials said the child died around Sept. 17, and the death was reported to the state by the hospital.

And a source within the hospital confirmed another baby fell ill after receiving an overdose of epinephrine, and was treated in the hospital's intensive care unit.

Both incidents occurred in the past two weeks, the source said, in the wake of another fatal accidental overdose that left an 8-month-old girl dead.

The state Department of Health has launched a priority investigation into the hospital, and was at the hospital campus on Thursday to begin reviewing procedures and policies that may indicate a systemic problem. The state Nursing Commission will also look into the death.

Children's Hospital has refused to answer any questions about any recent accidental overdose cases, including the Sept. 19 case of Kaia M. Zauntner. On Thursday, the hospital would only say it will host a news conference at 6 p.m., which will be streamed live on komonews.com.

The accidental overdose cases come just 18 months after an autistic teenage boy died after receiving a lethal dose of a powerful painkiller by Children's staff.

Michael Blankenship couldn't speak or take oral medications. As a result, doctors prescribed a patch containing fentanylfollowing his March 2009 surgery. The patch, which was placed on his back, is typically used on cancer patients or people with a narcotics tolerance.

"Clearly the dose was too much for this patient," Dr. David Fisher, the hospital's medical director said last year.

The boy's mother, Tammy Blankenship, filed a claim against the hospital and two dentists for more than a million dollars. The two sides settled for an undisclosed amount.

"I can't bring my child back. I can't reverse the decision made to prescribe a drug that killed him," she said.

In the Blankenship case, the hospital did not discipline the doctor or the medical team involved, saying no one intended to harm the boy and no process had been in place to determine whether fentanyl was appropriate for specific patients.