Burbank Police are investigating the death of a patient at Providence
St. Joseph Medical Center who was given the wrong medication.
Pierre Azar, 80, of Burbank, died Saturday morning within minutes
of being given a sedative to calm him by an attending nurse. His
doctor had not prescribed the medication, police said. Azar was in
the hospital because he was terminally ill with cancer and hospital
officials said they had been given instructions not to resuscitate
Hospital officials contacted police immediately because of the
circumstances surrounding the death, spokesman Sgt. Will Berry said.
Police would not release the names of the hospital employees involved
in the incident, saying the case was still an active investigation.
No charges have been filed in connection with the death.
Berry did say that the overdose appears to have been accidental.
“This is in no way an Angel of Death thing,” he said. “This has to
do more with an accidental overdose of drugs than a deliberate act.”
Officials with the coroner’s office examined the body Tuesday
morning, but spokesman David Campbell said the cause of death would
not be determined until toxicology tests are completed in six to
The two registered nurses involved have been pulled off schedules
for the coming week as hospital officials conduct their own
investigation, spokesman Brian Greene said. He also cautioned against
concluding Azar died as a result of the medication until the
investigation is complete.
“We want to have all the facts and find out why this patient
died,” he said.
The nurses were giving Azar the medication to ease his pain and
Greene said hospital officials and his family recently discussed
moving him into hospice care.