Stuck in the middle


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Abstract

Last week, an elderly woman who'd cut her left index finger came to our ED for treatment. The physician preparing to suture the wound asked me for lidocaine. Because the charge nurse was standing next to the medication cabinet, she handed me the vial and I gave it to the physician. Ten minutes after the injection, the patient had a severe reaction. After checking the vial, I was horrified to see that it contained epinephrine HCl (Adrenalin), not lidocaine.I immediately told the charge nurse what had happened because I was concerned for her legal liability. But I was stunned when she said I'd be liable too if the patient filed a lawsuit. Is that true?—S.G., TEX.

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