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Succinylcholine-Induced Hyperkalemia Leads to Wrongful Death and Malpractice Suit in Mt. Vernon

For Immediate Release: October 7, 2016

Contact: Craig M. Sandberg, 312.263.7249,

Mt. Vernon, IL – In the evening on Thanksgiving Day (November 27, 2014), M-34 was found unresponsive at his home by a family member and 911 was called. At approximately 5:40 p.m., the ambulance arrived at SSM Health Good Samaritan Hospital (Mount Vernon, IL) approximately 5:40 p.m.

Shortly after his arrival in the emergency department, a decision was made to intubate M-34 to protect his airway. 100mg of succinylcholine (SCh) was ordered and, thereafter, administered by nursing staff. M-34 was intubated and proper placement of the endotracheal tube was confirmed (i.e., capnometric color change noted and bilateral breath sounds heard). Shortly after succinylcholine was administered, M-34 arrested and cardio pulmonary resuscitation (“CPR”) was initiated. M-34 was not resuscitated and he died.

According to the plaintiff’s 2-622 health care professional’s report, M-34 died of succinylcholine-induced hyperkalemia. The report contends the standard of care was deviated because, given the patient's history and clinical presentation, he should have been given rocuronium instead of succinylcholine when the decision was made to use a neuromuscular blocking agent for rapid sequence intubation.

M-34 was survived by his parents and three siblings.

WHAT: Medical malpractice complaint filed in Gordon v. Mount Vernon Emergency Group, P.C., et al. (Case No. 16 L 66).

WHERE: Circuit Court of the Second Judicial Circuit, Jefferson County Courthouse, 100 South 10th Street, Mt. Vernon, Illinois 62964

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