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Parents Blame Hospital for Death

February 8, 2002

LAKE GROVE, N.Y. (AP) _ A missing decimal point on a prescription for a 6-day-old infant recovering from heart surgery led to a deadly overdose, a lawyer for his parents said Friday.

``Due to the carelessness, recklessness and negligence of the hospital and its staff, a gargantuan dose of potassium chloride extinguished my clients’ first-born child,″ said David Raimondo, an attorney for Ana Celina and Giovanni Vargas.

Raimondo announced plans to sue Stony Brook University Hospital over the death Tuesday of Gianni Vargas. The baby’s parents said officials told them the error was due to a prescription dosage reading 35, rather than 3.5.

The hospital’s chief executive, Bruce Schroffel, issued a statement apologizing for an error, without specifying what it was.

``In spite of numerous safeguards, an error occurred resulting in the tragic loss of a life,″ he said. ``We are conducting a thorough investigation of this baby’s death to determine what steps are necessary to ensure that this will never happen again.″

The baby, who was born full-term by emergency Caesarean section on Jan. 30, had surgery for a heart valve problem on Feb. 3.

The couple had visited their son on Monday night, and ``he was doing fine,″ Vargas said. ``They told us to sleep tight, everything’s going to be all right. He should be coming home within a week, they said.″

Vargas said he received a call Tuesday morning and was told to rush to the hospital, ``your kid’s not doing too good.″

Vargas, an ironworker who had been working at the World Trade Center s site until he was laid off in December, and his wife made the 30-minute drive from their Long Island home, but they were too late. The baby had died.

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