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Published: Wednesday, 6/12/2002

Pharmacist can avoid drug-death conviction

A pharmacist at Riverside Mercy Hospital who gave a fatal overdose of chemotherapy drugs to a cancer patient can avoid a misdemeanor conviction if he successfully completes a court-diversion program.

Daniel M. Scott, 42, of 6059 Saddlewood Drive, was placed in a one-year diversion program yesterday by Judge Frederick McDonald of Lucas County Common Pleas Court. The program is supervised by the county probation department.

Mr. Scott was indicted in October with involuntary manslaughter for the July 11, 2000, death of Lyle E. Ganske, of Ottawa County.

Prosecutors said Mr. Ganske, 62, died about 11 days after he received a four-day intravenous treatment of Adriamycin and Vincristine that was four times stronger than prescribed.

Mr. Scott was charged in April in a bill of information with misdemeanor patient abuse.

Judge McDonald dismissed the involuntary manslaughter charge at the request of prosecutors and stayed the patient-abuse charge on the condition he completes the diversion program.

The Ohio Board of Pharmacy reviewed the incident. After a hearing in August before the nine-member pharmacy board, Mr. Scott was fined $1,500.

Another pharmacist at the hospital who reviewed the prescription two days after Mr. Scott dispensed it was fined $500.

The hospital pharmacy was fined $4,000, said Tim Benedict, assistant executive director of the state pharmacy board.

Jerome Phillips, Mr. Scott's attorney, said a nurse rewrote instructions from the doctor who treated Mr. Ganske and sent the prescription to Mr. Scott.

A mix-up in the translation of an abbreviation on the document caused Mr. Scott to dispense the incorrect dosage.

“He filled the prescription the way he believed it had been set up,” Mr. Phillips said.

Sarah Bednarski, a spokeswoman for Mercy Health Systems, which owns Riverside Mercy Hospital, said additional policies and procedures were implemented to assure medications are correctly prescribed.

“We have conducted a thorough review. We have implemented additional checks and balances to our system,” she said.

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