By Michelle Castillo
The Syracuse Post-Standard reported that the New York State Health Department found St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center negligent in the case, and admonished the hospital for not adequately looking into how this mistake was made.
Patient Colleen S. Burns was reportedly admitted into St. Joseph’s emergency department in 2009 after overdosing on Xanax, Benadryl and a muscle relaxant. Hospital notes obtained by the Post-Standard revealed that the doctors thought she had undergone “cardiac death.” After doctors consulted with the family, they agreed to withdraw life support and donate her organs.
What actually happened was that Burns was in a deep coma from her overdose, and did not have irreversible brain damage.
The Health Department discovered that the staff did not perform a recommended treatment to stop the drugs from being absorbed into her stomach and intestines, did not test to see if she was free of all drugs and did not complete enough brain scans. They also did not wait long enough before recommending the patient was taken off life support.