MIAMI (WSVN/CNN) – A Florida man's family has filed a lawsuit after he died when a hospital nurse allegedly gave him a drug used in executions.
Richard Smith, 79, entered North Shore Medical Center on July 30, 2010 for shortness of breath. He died about a month later after a nurse allegedly mistook the lethal drug for other medication.
His family has continued to search for answers, and they said their hope was no one else would endure the pain of losing a loved one the way they did.
The family's attorney, Andrew Yaffa, asks why the nurse in question remains at work.
"This nurse, as we sit here today knowing the multiple levels of neglect, mistake after mistake after mistake, this nurse is still working in that ICU on patients just like Richard Smith," Yaffa said.
Smith's son, Marc, said a doctor told him a nurse gave his father the wrong medication, putting him into respiratory arrest.
"And I said, ‘How could that happen? They didn't read the medication?'" Marc Smith said. "Basically, he was like, ‘They (mistook) the package. He said they looked similar and he grabbed the wrong package.'"
North Shore Medical released a statement that their "hearts go out to the Smith family for their loss."
"This was a tragic event that was immediately self-reported to the agency for health care administration," the release stated. "We conducted an internal review and have several new processes in place to ensure a situation like this doesn't happen again."
Family members described the former teacher as "full of life." He and his wife, Lula, were married for 55 years.
His daughter, Vickie Jackson, said she wants to know how someone could take his life without consequence.
"I'm mad because it seems as if you can take a life and you don't have to answer for it," she said.