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Published: Thursday, 10/11/2001

Hospital pharmacist indicted in death of a cancer patient

A pharmacist at Riverside Mercy Hospital was indicted yesterday by a Lucas County grand jury for allegedly giving a fatal overdose of chemotherapy drugs to a cancer patient.

Daniel Scott, 41, was charged with one count of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of an Ottawa County man who was being treated in the hospital last year.

A prescription of potentially life-saving medicine intended to help Lyle E. Ganske fight the cancer instead caused his death on July 11, 2000, about 11 days after he began treatment.

William T. Winsley, executive director of the Ohio Board of Pharmacy, said he believes this is the first time a pharmacist has been charged criminally for dispensing a wrong prescription. “This is a unique situation,” said Mr. Winsley, who has been a member of the pharmacy board since 1988. “This is the first death from an overdose that I can recall due to a dispensing error.”

Prosecutors said an intravenous treatment of Adriamycin and Vincristine was prescribed to be administered over a four-day period to Mr. Ganske.

Instead, the dosages of the drugs were quadrupled, prosecutors said.

“He received a four-day dosage that should have been spread out over a four-month period at best,” said John Weglian, chief of the Lucas County prosecutor's special units division. “After the treatment, he would not have received another treatment for at least one month.”

If convicted, Mr. Scott of Saddlewood Drive could be sentenced to five years in prison. He will receive a summons to appear for arraignment in Common Pleas Court.

The retired owner of an organ and piano business in Graytown, Mr. Ganske, 62, died in St. Charles Mercy Hospital in Oregon. His daughter, Sue Mota, said her father began receiving chemotherapy treatments in June, 1997, after he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. She said the cancer had gone into remission for a year, but it returned in 2000.

“He was really enjoying his life. He was looking forward to a longer life than what he had,” she said.

The prosecutor's office began investigating the death after receiving a letter from his daughter. Pharmacy board officials assisted prosecutors in the investigation.

The board's investigation resulted in Mr. Scott receiving a $1,500 fine last month. According to board records, he was found guilty of unprofessional conduct for dispensing an incorrect drug dosage for the cancer treatment.

Mr. Scott has been a licensed pharmacist in Ohio since 1984. Megan Manahan, a spokeswoman for Mercy Health Partners, which owns Riverside Mercy Hospital, said he remains employed at the hospital, where he has worked 18 years. “At the time of the incident, we conducted a thorough review ... and have implemented additional checks and balances to our systems,” she said.



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