Human error led to cancer patient’s death

From Wednesday’s Globe and Mail

Edmonton — Denise Melanson’s cancer was diagnosed in March of 2006 and, within six months, she was dead. But it wasn’t the disease, an advanced but treatable form of cancer of the nasal passage, that killed the married mother of two, but rather the drugs that were supposed to cure her.

Two independent investigations into the 43-year-old woman’s death were released Tuesday and documented how a series of human errors led to her receiving a fatal overdose of chemotherapy drugs on July 31.

Less than a month after receiving four days worth of medication in four hours from a misprogrammed electronic pump, the Rainbow Lake, Alta., resident’s organs shut down and she was taken off life support on Aug. 22.

In its 81-page report, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada concluded that similar errors have resulted in at least seven deaths at cancer centres around North America since 2000.  Read More….

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