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Lawsuit: Patient had heart attack after Ky. medics administered wrong drug in ambulance

Attorneys for the Ohio patient and her husband allege that the paramedics were negligent


By Kaitlyn Alanis
The Charlotte Observer

NEWPORT, Ky. — A woman who fell and hit her head while at a theater in Kentucky said she was taken away in an ambulance as she suffered a deep cut and injury.

But while being treated in the ambulance, she was given the wrong medication, which caused her to have a heart attack, according to a lawsuit recently filed in Campbell County.

The lawsuit was filed Feb. 1 by Ziegler & Schneider law firm on behalf of Signa and Mark Morgan, a husband and wife who live in Cincinnati, Ohio. They are suing the City of Newport and Newport Fire & Rescue, alleging that the paramedics were negligent.


Image/Newport Fire/EMS

After Signa Morgan fell at a Newport pavilion just outside of their hometown on Feb. 15, 2022, paramedics were called to the theater, according to the lawsuit. She left with them in the squad ambulance and was supposed to be taken to the closest facility.

While on the way to a hospital, Signa Morgan said she was nauseated and “felt like she was going to pass out,” her attorney said in the court document. She requested Ondansetron, a common anti-nausea medication.

One of the paramedics got what he thought was Ondansetron, then gave the syringe to the other paramedic, who administered it through an IV, according to the lawsuit.

“By mistake, however, (the first paramedic) had drawn 1 mg of Epinephrine/Adrenaline and (the second paramedic) had administered it to Plaintiff by IV push,” the Morgans’ attorney said. Epinephrine is often used to treat allergic reactions.

Signa Morgan went into “immediate cardiac distress,” according to the lawsuit.

In a statement to McClatchy News, Fire Chief Frank Peluso Jr. said he was made aware of the incident right away and reported it to the Kentucky Board of Emergency Medical Services.

“I have no other information to share at this time due to the pending litigation,” he said.

Once the drug was mistakenly given, one of the paramedics informed Signa Morgan of the error and started to monitor her heart, the lawsuit said. She was taken to a hospital for a medication overdose.

Her legal team said her symptoms were “indicative of a drug-induced myocardial infarction,” or heart attack.

“Plaintiff had no chest pain prior to her fall but has suffered significant cardiac pain, as well as other cardiac symptoms such as persistent pressure in her throat, all since the event and as a direct result of it,” according to the lawsuit. “(She) continues to experience numerous adverse cardiac-related symptoms since the erroneous administration of the wrong drug by Defendant’s Medic.”

Her legal team said her medical team failed to follow The Five Rights of Medication Administration — “The right patient, right drug, the right dose, the right route, and the right time.”

The Morgans seek a jury trial and compensatory damages to cover medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Their attorney said medical expenses and the cost of the wife’s ongoing pain “are reasonably expected to exceed $200,000.”

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