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Hospitals To Pay $7.9M Settlement

October 8, 1999

CHICAGO (AP) _ The family of a cancer patient given a lethal dose of chemotherapy has agreed to a $7.9 million settlement with the University of Chicago Hospitals.

Vincent Gargano, a 41-year-old postal worker with testicular cancer, died in 1995, two weeks after he was given four times the recommended dose of a medication. He had been given a 95 percent chance of survival, but the medication caused kidney failure and infections.

Howard Schaffner, the family’s attorney, said a doctor’s order was transcribed incorrectly and the pharmacy dispensed the wrong dose for four straight days.

At least one doctor, two pharmacists and four nurses failed to detect the error, despite hospital policy that calls for chemotherapy doses to be verified, court records show. The mistake was discovered by a nurse newly assigned to Gargano.

University officials, who announced the settlement Thursday, said new policies have been adopted to prevent such errors.

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