Bay Area Nurses Hold Vigil For Cancer Patient Killed By Medical Error

OAKLAND (KCBS) – Nurses from around the Bay Area gathered at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland on Sunday night for a vigil to remember a cancer patient, who died at the hospital following a medical error by a replacement nurse.

Officials with the Alameda County Coroner’s Office are scheduled to conduct an autopsy on the female patient on Monday. She died early Saturday morning after Oakland police said she received a “non-prescribed dosage of a medication.”

KCBS’ Tim Ryan Reports:

Nurses at the Oakland facility and several others in Northern and Central California walked off the job in a one-day strike last week. But at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, officials decided to replace nurses for five days.

Dr. Steve O’Brien, the vice president of medical affairs at Alta Bates, said that the death was not the result of a decision to use replacement nurses.

“A medical error of this magnitude is a very rare event and an extremely devastating event for the patient, the patient’s family and for the care provider,” said O’Brien.

21-year Alta Bates veteran nurse Leslie Silket was one of many devastated by the incident.

“When they came here, they trusted that their loved one would be taken care of,” she said tearfully at the vigil.

The California Department of Public Health and local authorities are continuing to investigate the death of the patient.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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