Nurse suicide follows infant tragedy

  1. The suicide of a nurse who accidentally gave an infant a fatal overdose last year at Seattle Children's hospital has closed an investigation but opened wounds for her friends and family members, as they struggle to comprehend a second tragedy.

    Kimberly Hiatt, 50, a longtime critical-care nurse at Children's, took her own life April 3. As a result, the state's Nursing Commission last week closed its investigation of her actions in the Sept. 19 death of Kaia Zautner, a critically ill infant who died in part from complications from an overdose of calcium chloride.

    After the infant's death, the hospital put Hiatt on administrative leave and soon dismissed her. In the months following, she battled to keep her nursing license in the hopes of continuing the work she loved, despite having made the deadly mistake, friends and family members said.

    To satisfy state disciplinary authorities, she agreed to pay a fine and to undergo a four-year probationary period during which she would be supervised at any future nursing job when she gave medication, along with other conditions, said Sharon Crum of Issaquah, Hiatt's mother.

    "She absolutely adored her job" at Children's, where she had worked for about 27 years, said Crum. "It broke her heart when she was dismissed ... She cried for two solid weeks. Not just that she lost her job, but that she lost a child."

    How horrible for everyone in the situation...she had worked at Seattle Children's for 27 years, the article states.
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    About babyNP., MSN, APRN

    Joined: Jan '08; Posts: 1,714; Likes: 2,261
    from US
    Specialty: 10 year(s) of experience in NICU


  3. by   leslie :-D
    it just doesn't get any sadder than this.
    so much loss in this story.
    i just can't imagine this np's grief.

    rip, little angel and big angel.

  4. by   Old.Timer
    I recall when this occurred. Horribly horribly tragic. It remained on my mind and heart for quite some time. It really did. So sad to learn of this outcome, but not horribly surprising.
  5. by   linearthinker
    The mistake could happen to any of us. So sad that she didn't get the support and counseling she needed.
  6. by   Trilldayz,RN BSN
    Wow how sad!
  7. by   Brea LPN
    This is my biggest fear. I feel awful for this woman.
  8. by   missdiorcherie
    This is so tragic on both ends....smh
  9. by   nurceee
    This is so sad, it is amazing that the accountability lies on the RN.
  10. by   NurseLoveJoy88
    This is so sad and scary. I used to want to work in NICU... not so sure now. The accountability is so much.
  11. by   sweetnurse63
    This story is so heartwrenching and unfortunate. All nurses could make a mistake, it could be NICU, Med-Surg, oncology, peds and the lists goes on and on........ This is the main reason why doulble even triple checks of orders and medications are so important before giving them to our patients. May God bless both families for their loss.
  12. by   bsnanat2
    While I know the family of the infant suffered a horrible loss, the nurse should not have been thrown to the wolves. We all understand that we are one mistake away from causing a death, but are we all really one mistake away from losing our career? I wonder if carrying her own insurance would have made this situation easier to workout to cover her interest? While protecting the public is paramount, the Board should have been advocating for this nurse also. Drug users/diverters get more help!! Not much on unions, but I am starting to see the benefit of having one. (I don't claim to know all the details. My comments are based only on what I got from the above post.) I wish her family well.
  13. by   KarmaWiseRaven
    Wow sad sad day. I remember this and commenting on this story on AN. There's tears on earth as in heaven for both family's for sure RIP Kim and little Kaia. May you both find peace now in your gods loving arms as well as your family's.
  14. by   LTCangel
    This all so sad for both families. I cannot understand why this nurse was thrown under the bus, 27 years is a long history of nursing experience and loyalty to this hospital. The hospital had every right to discipline her and so did the BON, but the harshness that was shown to her will cause other nurses to be afraid to report their mistakes and try to cover them up. We were all taught to self report any errors and that it would not cause us to be fired, disciplined or educated but not fired. Each and every nurse no matter what type of nursing they do are having to take care of increasingly larger amount of patients and mistakes are almost inevitable. Seems the hospitals and any other medical facility are deciding to always discard the nurse because at this time in many areas there are 50 more waiting for a job. All of this could have been handled in a better way. So sad.