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Mom Takes Tale of Daughter's Death to Hospitals

Mom Takes Tale of Daughter's Death to Hospitals

Speaking at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, patient safety advocate Sorrel King, whose daughter died after a series of medical errors while at Johns Hopkins Children's Center, displays a care journal that can be used by a patient's family to

David Wenner / The Patriot-News

November 23, 2008

Sorrel King’s daughter, 18-month-old Josie King, died in 2001 at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore.

The child had been severely burned after accidentally stepping into a hot bath. She spent 10 days in the pediatric intensive care unit and was healing well.

Then the child was sent to an intermediate care unit, and her family was told she would be discharged within a few days.

Soon her mother noticed she was acting strangely and would cry out for every drink she saw. Josie also sucked furiously on a wash cloth during a bath given by her mother and a nurse. Despite her mother’s concerns, the staff said Josie was fine. But It turned out she was severely dehydrated.

On top of that, a nurse injected the child with a narcotic after a doctor had given a verbal order of no more drugs. The drug stopped the girl’s heart and she died.

Johns Hopkins gave the Kings a settlement. King said the family used the money to start a foundation to promote patient safety.

King said Johns Hopkins admitted the death never should have happened, and eventually invited her to speak there and encouraged her to speak elsewhere.

Since then, she said, many health professionals have “whispered” to her stories of fatal errors they’d witnessed and urged her to continue her campaign.

“I truly believe that things are really, really getting better,” she said.

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