Two nurses at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center who were
responsible for giving a terminally ill cancer patient medication not
prescribed by his doctor are no longer employed by the hospital.
The nurses were “separated from the hospital,” said hospital
spokesman Brian Greene, who declined to identify the workers and
would not say if they quit or were terminated.
Greene did say that counseling and other services are being
offered to the nurses by the hospital’s human resources department.
The nurses were taken off their regular schedules for a week
following the June 7 death of Pierre Azar, an 80-year-old cancer
patient who died minutes after nurses gave him a sedative to calm him
that was not prescribed by his doctors, police said. Azar had
requested hospital staff not attempt to resuscitate him.
The attending physician contacted police, who are still
investigating the case. No arrests have been made. Officials with the
coroner’s office examined the body June 10, but a spokesman said the
cause of death would not be determined until toxicology test results
are available, in four to six weeks.
Hospital officials, meanwhile, are conducting what they call a
root-cause investigation to determine exactly what happened.
Greene said the inquiry is about 75% complete, but would not
speculate whether the death was caused by the medication until the
investigation is completed.
“We want to find out what happened here and make sure it never
happens again,” he said.