Hospital Pharmacy Error Blamed for Preemie's Death

An error by a hospital pharmacy led to the death of a premature baby who at one time was thriving, ABC News reported.

Alyssa Shinn was born 14 weeks early to Kathleen and Richard Shinn. She was frail and tiny but grew stronger in the neonatal intensive care unit at Summerlin Hospital in Las Vegas, according to the report, which was published on Monday.

"She was doing excellent," Richard Shinn told ABC. "She had just come off the ventilator. She was gaining weight. She was starting to take milk. They just gave her a few drops of milk a day, in a little dropper. And everything was good to go."

But after the Shinns went home to get some rest on Nov. 8, 2006, something went wrong. Upon returning to the hospital the next morning at 9 a.m., the Shinns found their daughter was lethargic and not moving. Kathleen Shinn said she could sense her daughter was on the brink of death, according to the report.

It was later discovered that the lead pharmacist on duty at the hospital the night before made a fatal mistake prescribing to Alyssa 330 milligrams of zinc, a nutritional supplement to help the baby's metabolism, ABC reported.

The dosage was 1,000 times the 330 micrograms of zinc that the baby was supposed to receive.

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