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Family Files Claim Over Child’s Death from ‘Inappropriate’ Dental Patch

Posted Sep 30, 2009 1:31 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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The family of an autistic teen who died in his sleep of ketamine and Fentanyl intoxication after his mother applied a topical painkiller patch prescribed after dental work has filed a court claim against the hospital, doctor and resident involved.

Attorney Chris Davis, who represents the family, says an "egregious" mistake led to 15-year-old Michael Blankenship being prescribed the powerful painkiller in contravention of an advisory by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that it should only be used on opioid-tolerant individuals when other medication has proven ineffective, reports the Seattle Times.

Dr. David Fisher, the hospital's medical director, says in a written statement that "both the delivery system and the dose were inappropriate," and emphasizes that the family received an immediate acknowledgment and apology for what he describes as a medication error. However, he says the mistake was not the fault of any one person, the newspaper reports.

Seattle Children's has since changed its policy concerning the patch and now requires a pain medicine specialist to approve such prescriptions.

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