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By Cynthia A. Diaz-Shephard for NewsInferno
The family of Sharon Juno, 59 at the time of her death, was awarded the largest civil wrongful death judgment in Baldwin County’s history.
A Baldwin County, Alabama, jury returned the $140 million dollar settlement to Sharon Juno’s family following her death from an insulin overdose in 2008, said Fox10TV. Juno, a life-long diabetic who took insulin regularly, was released from Thomas Hospital for a medical condition to follow her physician’s orders for medication and rehab.
According to Juno’s attorney, she died due to a Levemir insulin overdose, being given 10 times her prescribed amount. This led to irreversible brain injury and death, wrote Fox10TV.
The wrongful death verdict lawsuit stated that Thomas Hospital outsourced its medical transcription service, in this tragic case, to India, and that a transcription error was the culprit in the deadly dose that Juno received, said WKRG News 5. Juno’s attorney found that Thomas Hospital and three transcription service companies Medusing, Inc. and Sam Tech Datasys, both India-based and subcontracted by Precyse Solutions (U.S.-based), were to blame over a transcription process error.
Apparently, the transcript was returned to Thomas Hospital when Juno was to be admitted to a rehab facility; Thomas Hospital prepared admission and medication orders based on the unsigned, interviewed transcript, Fox10TV explained. The order was then sent to Mercy Medical. It was there that ten times the ordered insulin dose was administered.
The following morning, Juno was discovered in a coma and brain dead. Thomas Hospital said it was unaware that Precyse Solutions subcontracted its service to the companies in India, where strict U.S. medical guidelines were not followed. Mercy Medical and Juno’s doctor were not found to be at fault in her death, noted Fox10TV.
Juno’s physician was unaware at the time of Juno’s discharge from Thomas Hospital that his Discharge Summary was outsourced for transcription in Mumbai and New Delhi, India sad WKRG News 5.
The transcription contained three significant errors starting with the incorrect Levemir insulin dose being written for 80, not eight, units. Juno’s fatal dosage, which led to her massive brain injury, cause her to suffer from cardiopulmonary arrest. She never regained consciousness, dying on March 27, 2008.
Bill McLaughlin, Thomas Hospital Administrator, issued the following statement in response to the jury’s findings: “Thomas Hospital expresses our condolences for the family involved in this matter. Furthermore, we are disappointed with the jury’s decision and do not believe the verdict reflects the care and compassion provided to the patients of Thomas Hospital by its providers and staff. Thomas Hospital has served the people of Baldwin County for more than 50 years and is recognized as one of the top 100 hospitals by Thomson Reuters. We believe that the amount of the verdict is excessive and intend to exercise rights of appeal.”
As a coder in health information, I see ridiculous miss-transcribed errors all the time – hypertension instead of hypotension; hypernatremia instead of hyponatremia; hypoglycemia instead of hyperglycemia. It’s very scary. Transcriptionists often use typing prompts and don’t double check their work. We have enough people who need jobs in the USA, we should be training people here to transcribe.
There is quite a difference between 8.0 and 80 units, and I would hope the nurse knew the patient’s blood sugar level before administering the insulin. I suppose the nurse could have questioned such a high dose, but that dose is not completely unheard of, unfortunately for the patient and her family.
I do feel the transcription company should have been held responsible as well.
People have no idea how much damage outsourcing to India has caused America. Most of the problems are covered up by embarassed companies. Fortunately most of the errors don’t involve death, but still massive suffering, business failures (resulting in job losses for Americans) and countless non-working processes and products. Look up “chalta hai.” My condolences to the family – there is no judgement adequate to restore the loss here.
My condolences to the family. A lot of people here have been without jobs because of the “outsourcing” trend. And to say that the hospital had no idea that that was been done is ridiculous. I worked for a hospital in Texas who hired a “consultant” to see if the transcription department was necessary and she made good on her commission. All of us went to another hospital and the doctors were not happy about it but administration was convinced by the consultant that it was “best” and more cost effective to let the transcribers go. I have worked since 1984 as a transcriptionist and even the outsourcing companies here in the USA would rather pay less to an untrained person or from another country.
Shame on the hospital administration for being heartless and still try to defend their decisions.
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