An 8-year old girl who had undergone a heart transplant as a younger child was given the decongestant Afrin by Dr. Cory Noel, a University of Washington cardiology fellow working in the Transplant Service. The decongestant predictably led to cardiac arrest and permanent brain damage in the child who had had a heart transplant.
The child’s cardiologist had warned that the administration of a decongestant could lead to heart problems, including cardiac arrest. The parents of the child filed a medical malpractice claim against the University of Washington and the hospital alleging carelessness.
This is a case in which better communication between physicians could have avoided a terrible tragedy.
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