Mount Carmel to pay $477K after pharmacists cited in fatal patient overdoses

Mount Carmel Health System will pay $477,000 in fines to settle a case accusing three pharmacists of failing to prevent fatal patient drug overdoses, CBS affiliate WBNS reported

The Columbus, Ohio-based health system and three of its pharmacists were cited by the Ohio Board of Pharmacy last October for failing to ensure the proper medication safety steps were followed when several patients died after being given high doses of opioids. 

In one case, pharmacist Nathan Kochheiser allegedly approved a dose of opioids just 19 minutes after another pharmacist had approved an identical dose, and the patient died within 15 minutes of being given the second dose, WBNS reported. 

Two of the pharmacists will be required to pay fines and receive continuing education courses. The case against the third pharmacist was dismissed

The pharmacists neither admitted nor denied fault, but the Ohio pharmacy board said it had enough evidence to sustain the allegations, according to WBNS. None were criminally charged.

Mount Carmel West Hospital was also accused by the pharmacy board of failing to provide appropriate supervision and control of the automated drug-dispensing machines in the hospital. 

Mount Carmel sent WBNS a statement saying: "We respect and appreciate the Board of Pharmacy’s efforts to finalize an agreement and help ensure such events never happen again," and laid out steps the health system has taken to improve medication safety. 

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