When Nurses Make Mistakes

Mon, 07/11/2011 - 6:55am
Theresa Brown, RN

This year, a Seattle nurse named Kim Hiatt committed suicide. Ms. Hiatt’s death came nearly seven months after she had given an unintended overdose to an infant heart patient, a medical error that was said to have contributed to the child’s death days later.

Ms. Hiatt had been a nurse for 27 years and had often cared for the 8-month-old girl during the child’s stay in the pediatric intensive care unit of her hospital. She had probably drawn up the right dose of the drug hundreds of times in her career. But once, she made a life-changing error. A baby died, and she was suspended, then fired from a profession she loved. And now she’s dead.

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