Police probe hospital deaths in Connecticut
Police in New Haven, Conn., have launched an investigation into the deaths of two women mistakenly given nitrous oxide instead of oxygen while in surgery at the Hospital of St. Raphael.
Hartford Courant, Jan. 21, 2002
NEW HAVEN -- New Haven police have launched a criminal investigation into the deaths of two women who were mistakenly given the anesthetic nitrous oxide instead of oxygen while undergoing minor heart procedures at the Hospital of St. Raphael.
Doris Herdman, 72, of Southington, died on the table Jan. 11 while undergoing a diagnostic cardiac catheterization procedure. Joan Cannon, 68, of Wallingford, died Jan. 15 while doctors were doing the same procedure, using the same equipment.
Hospital officials said a safety device on an oxygen meter was broken, allowing the meter to be plugged into a nitrous oxide receptacle by mistake.
The person or persons responsible have not been identified, and hospital officials said they do not anticipate disciplinary action or criminal charges.
"We have no reason to believe that any intentional acts contributed to those deaths. However, the New Haven Police Department has offered to conduct an assessment to formally and completely rule out that possibility," hospital spokesman Cindy Von Berens said Saturday.
Von Berens said the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations also will be investigating.
State health officials and the federal Food and Drug Administration are already investigating.
Wonder what this sentinel event report looks like!