Reporting Cynthia Demos
MIAMI (CBS4)- The government announced a new initiative in April to prevent hospital errors that are blamed for hundreds of thousands of deaths each year and cost American taxpayers billions of dollars.
But the problem of medical mistakes is still an epidemic. Now one family is on a crusade to call attention to the dangerous trend of medical errors.
From the time they met and married, Fritzie and Cameron Burkett dreamed of having a house full of children, but after suffering through two miscarriages that dream appeared less and less likely.
“When I got the second miscarriage it was a little discouraging, but I just believed and had faith that when it was good timing it would happen,” Fritzie Burkett said.
On September 6, 2010 their son Genesis was born at Lutheran Hospital in Chicago three months premature.
“I was overjoyed, you know, it was our first child,” Cameron Burkett said. “He had some of my features. I could see it and I was like, ‘wow it’s amazing that we created that child together.’”
But while in the neo-natal ICU fatal mistakes were made.
During a routine procedure, Genesis was given 60 times the normal dose of sodium in his IV bag. Blood tests that day revealed he had extremely high levels of sodium in his body, and despite doctors orders to have him checked, nothing was done for more than eight hours.
Six weeks after his birth, Genesis Burkett went into cardiac arrest from an overdose and died.
Unfortunately these nightmare scenarios are playing out in hospitals across the country. By some estimates 200,000 people die each year from preventable medical errors, according to the Texas Medical Institute of Technology.
Additionally, countless more are injured.
“As many as 1 in 7, maybe even 1 in 3 of every hospital admission or patients are injured by the care that’s supposed to help them,” Don Berwick, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said.
The Burkett’s have filed suit against the hospital claiming the hospital was negligent in their son’s care, and that he died due to preventable human error.
The hospital said it takes full accountability for the tragedy leading to the death of the baby and is committed to improving care.