At Terence Cardinal Cooke, a nursing home in New York, NY, Coral Quintyne, a Licensed Practical Nurse, was recently arrested and prosecuted for giving methadone to the wrong resident. As a result of the medication error, the elderly resident required hospitalization. What is more disturbing and likely the reason for the arrest is that the nurse failed to report her error and falsified documents in an attempt to cover it up. On 2/4/2011, she was sentenced to six months incarceration.
The reality is that mistakes happen. In fact, I recently gave my 2 year old son five times the amount of prescribed dose of an antibiotic (luckily with no adverse effects). In nursing home and hospital settings, medication errors can occur in an instant without indifference to residents. However, the appropriate response is to advise a physician and immediately obtain necessary care. The falsification of records and attempted cover-up is inexcusable. As it always seems, in this instance the cover-up was worse than the crime.