Feds: DeKalb Medical patient dies after being given drug overdose

DeKalb Medical Center

DeKalb Medical Center

DeKalb Medical Center was threatened this month with losing its Medicare provider status after a patient died from an overdose. It was the second time in recent months the hospital has been in trouble with federal officials.

The patient in the latest case was given 10 times the recommended dosage of a hypertension medication in October, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The hospital submitted a “corrective action” plan, which the federal agency accepted, allowing DeKalb Medical to continue Medicare service.

"A tragic event occurred in late October. We want to make sure it never happens again," DeKalb Medical officials said in a statement. The hospital group, which is in talks to join Emory Healthcare, "self-reported" the case to regulators.

The patient was admitted on Oct. 13 to the North Decatur Road location from a nursing home, suffering from “numerous” medical conditions, according to CMS. The doctor, whose identity hasn’t been released, ordered a 100mg tablet of amlodipine besylate, which is classified as a calcium channel blocker.

The recommended dosage is 10mg a day. The patient went on a ventilator and died on Oct. 16 of a calcium channel blocker overdose, CMS said.

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“As a result of the facility’s failure,” CMS said, “a patient died of a medication overdose.”

The hospital, which has locations in Decatur and Stonecrest, also had to submit a corrective action plan after staff failed to give a patient proper psychiatric medical screening in July. The patient went missing for days after being released, Georgia Health News reported.

The hospital corrected the deficiencies in that case.

CMS spokeswoman April Washington said workers in most hospitals charged with such failures do their best to get in compliance.

“That is what appears to be taking place with this hospital,” she said.

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In other news: 

The incident happened on I-20 in DeKalb County.