Nurse in fatal error put supplement in wrong tube
The cancer patient who died because of a medical error at Oakland’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center was killed by a nutritional supplement that a replacement nurse mistakenly put into a catheter meant for delivering medicine to her bloodstream, The Chronicle has learned.
The supplement was supposed to be put into a tube that ran into 66-year-old Judith Ming’s stomach, said one source close to the investigation. Ming, who suffered from ovarian cancer and had been hospitalized since early July, died early Saturday, soon after the replacement nurse made the mistake.
The nurse, a 23-year-old woman from New Orleans, was in a state of shock after realizing what had happened, said a source who spoke on condition of anonymity because patient privacy laws prevent public discussion of many of the case’s details.
The woman was one of about 500 replacement nurses brought in by Sutter Health to staff its Oakland hospital and two Berkeley campuses when the California Nurses Association called a one-day strike for Thursday. Sutter kept its replacements for five days, locking out its regular nurses until Tuesday.
The union employees were among 23,000 nurses in Northern and Central California who walked off the job to protest possible cuts to benefits and services.
Veteran nurses at Alta Bates Summit charged that the medical blunder would never have happened had they been allowed to return to work Friday. Sutter officials countered that the fill-in nurses were fully qualified and that the company had been forced to sign a contract with its replacement provider giving the temporary nurses five days of work.
The nurse who inserted the nutritional supplement into the incorrect catheter was “100 percent credentialed” to provide care to cancer patients, one source said. She is employed by Advanced Clinical Employment Staffing in Oneonta, Ala., which provides temporary nurses to hospitals…