Nursing errors lead to two overdoses in Pennsylvania Hospital Network; medicine pumps were improperly programmed

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Nurses with a hospital system in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania incorrectly programmed medicine dispensing pumps, resulting in the overdoses of two patients, state health officials recently said.

The cases were included in a March 15 report by Department of Health and made public this week, according to the Associated Press.

The errors occurred within the St. Luke's University Hospital Network in the Allentown, Pa. area, but the report did not specify exactly which facilities.

The report said that the patients each received 10 times their prescribed drug dosage of an anesthetic and a blood thinner through automated infusion pumps. In one case it lead to a near-fatal drop in blood pressure, the report said. Both patients have recovered.

Both overdoses were promptly reported internally, and the hospital has reviewed its policies and retrained the nurses involved with the mistakes, St. Luke's said in a statement.

Earlier this year, state health officials reported that pump errors involving pain medication at St. Luke's caused three patient overdoses between 2010 and 2011.

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