Josie King was admitted to the hospital after suffering severe burns from climbing into a hot bath. She had healed, and was set to return home two weeks later. Josie died days before she was to be released. She had an undetected central line infection and severe dehydration.
After she left the PICU, Josie’s central line was removed. Every time she saw a drink, she screamed for it. She was sucking feverishly at her washcloth. Josie’s mother asked the nurses about this and was assured it was normal, although it was not something Josie had ever done.
Sorrel King had been with her 18-month-old daughter every minute from the day she entered the hospital. The nurses assured her Josie was doing well, and suggested it was time for Mrs. King to sleep at home.
Arriving back at the hospital at 5 a.m., Josie’s mother knew something was drastically wrong. The medical team was called. They administered Narcan, and Josie’s mom asked if she could give her daughter something to drink. Josie gulped down a litter of juice. Verbal orders were given: no more narcotics. Josie began to seem a little better.
At one o’clock, the nurse entered with a syringe of methadone. Sorrel told her there was an order for no narcotics. The nurse responded that the order had been changed, and gave Josie the injection. Soon after, Josie’s heart stopped. Her mother was ushered out of the room.
The next time Sorrel saw Josie, it was back on the PICU floor. Her child was hooked up to many monitors and looked awful. Eighteen-month-old Josie King died in her mother’s arms two days later. She had a hospital-acquired infection, was severely dehydrated, and had been given inappropriate narcotics.