It was revealed on Thursday by Saskatoon Health Region officials that four babies born prematurely at Royal University Hospital were given insulin by accident two weeks ago. The drug, which is used to regulate blood sugar, was mistaken for heparin, a drug used to control blood clots.
Officials did not disclose any of the infants’ health statuses at the time, but on Friday one mother reported that her six-week old son Andrew had died at the end of August. Bonnie Washam, Andrew’s mother, believes that there is a connection between the insulin error and her son’s death.
The Health Region has said that the child died from a lung infection that was unrelated to the error. One of the Region’s neonatalists, Dr. Laurentiu Givelichian, said that low sugar did not complicate the lung infection.
However, Calgary University’s Dr. David Lau, an expert on diabetes, warns against oversimplification. “I would be very cautious in categorically saying that the insulin dosage is not causative in the death of the infant.” Dr. Lau told CBC News that low blood sugar levels may have left the baby susceptible to infection.
Ms. Washam has announced her intentions to seek compensation for her loss, and is currently in the process of contacting a lawyer. Commenting on the whole situation, she said: “This isn’t a mistake that can be just swept under a run.”