16 Year Old Killed in Childbirth by Medical Error
To read the media accounts, it really seems like the nurse who attached the medications is being hung out to dry. And she certainly does bear a large part of the responsibility. She should have visually confirmed that the label on the IV bag was for the correct medication. Further, it appears that there is a systemic problem in that particular hospital were the barcoding system that is in place to prevent such medication errors is not actually used by the nursing staff.
However, there is a HUGE key question that is not getting asked. Because the medications used in epidurals are controlled narcotics, they are generally kept under lock and key. As a doula who has worked in several hospital, I've never seen them accessible to the nurses, but rather kept in a cart that the anesthesiologist has the key to. Several other doulas have raised the same concern in the doula community. The anesthesiologist mixes up the medication cocktail on a "per customer" basis--it is not premixed and placed in IV bags. So why in the world was the nurse in this case even able to have access to a bag of IV fluid with epidural medications in it? Where is the anesthesiologist in this picture?
Bottom line folks...don't let something get injected into you (or your loved one) or hooked up to your IV unless you personally inspect the label.