Medical transcription error leads to fatal overdose

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Case in Point

January 22, 2013

Medical transcription error leads to fatal overdose 

The plaintiff alleged that a hospital and its subcontracted vendors violated established transcription quality standards calling for current and retrospective audits and no critical errors in transcribed reports. The jury awarded $140 million. Juno v. Amare.

Sharron Juno, 59, was hospitalized at Gulf Health Hospital, which contracted with Precyse Solutions, LLC, for medical transcription services. The hospital authorized the use of outsourced overseas transcription by Precyse, which subcontracted with India-based entities Medusind Solutions, Inc., and Sam Tech Datasys.

When Juno was discharged from the hospital, her treating physician completed a discharge summary and a medication reconciliation report, both of which included an order for eight units per night of Levemir insulin. Precyse, Medusind, and Sam Tech incorrectly transcribed the discharge summary as calling for 80 units of Levemir. When Juno was transferred to Mercy Medical for rehabilitation, Gulf Health Hospital delivered a copy of the discharge summary dictation that contained the dosage error.

A Mercy Medical nurse administered 80 units of Levemir to Juno, who subsequently suffered fatal cardiopulmonary arrest. She is survived by her two adult sons.

One of Juno’s sons, on behalf of her estate, sued Gulf Health Hospital, Precyse Solutions, Medusind, and Sam Tech, alleging liability for the fatal overdose. The plaintiff claimed that Precyse Solutions failed to review Juno’s transcripts for critical errors. Additionally, suit charged that a nurse prepared Juno’s transfer orders from an unreviewed and unsigned transcription, which was sent to Mercy Medical in the form of a doctor’s order. The plaintiff also charged that the actions of the nurse and subcontracted vendors violated established transcription quality standards calling for (1) current and retrospective audits and (2) no critical errors in transcribed reports. Suit did not claim lost income.

The jury awarded $140 million.

Citation: Juno v. Amare, No. CV 2008-901100 (Ala., Baldwin Co. Cir. Dec. 13, 2012).

Plaintiff counsel: AAJ members George W. Finkbohner III, Toby D. Brown, David G. Wirtes Jr., and J. Brian Duncan, all of Mobile, Ala.

Plaintiff experts: Carl J. Blond, nephrology, San Antonio, Texas; and Leora A. Wristen, medical transcription, and Catherine A. Garris, nursing, both of Tucson.


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