The family of a woman who died after being given the wrong medication at St. Charles Bend in December 2014 has reached an undisclosed monetary settlement with the hospital, the family’s attorney said Tuesday.
Sisters resident Loretta Macpherson, 65, was intravenously administered a paralyzing agent called rocuronium instead of the anti-seizure medication, fosphenytoin, her physician had ordered. The paralyzing agent caused her to stop breathing, leading to cardiac arrest and irreversible brain damage. She was taken off life support two days later on Dec. 3, 2014.
The hospital determined through an internal investigation that the error occurred in its pharmacy, where the wrong medication had been inserted into Macpherson’s IV bag. It was labeled, however, as the medication she was intended to receive, so her caregivers did not know it was the wrong one.
Jennifer Coughlin, an attorney with Brothers, Hawn & Coughlin in Bend, said she met with St. Charles’ attorneys last Thursday and they reached a monetary settlement that satisfied the family members, although she could not disclose the settlement amount.
A spokeswoman for the hospital was not immediately available for comment.
Macpherson is survived by two sons, Mark Macpherson and Pete Macpherson, both of whom live in Sisters.
The settlement brings the Macpherson brothers legal closure; no amount of money could bring emotional closure, Coughlin said.
“There is just no amount of money that could possibly reflect that suffering their mother went through,” she said. “It’s essentially like being buried alive. She couldn’t breathe but she couldn’t move and tell anybody.”
Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel wrote in an email Tuesday that his office has not yet completed its death investigation into the case, which will determine whether he files criminal charges against the hospital.