Kimberly Hiatt nurse
A nurse who accidentally gave a sick baby a fatal dose of medicine committed suicide in the wake of the tragedy.
Kimberly Hiatt was said to be totally destroyed and devastated after she accidentally overdosed baby Kaia Zautner on September 14, 2010, with ten times too much medication at Seattle Children's Hospital.
Her error led to the unravelling of her life which caused not only the death of the eight-month-old child but her dismissal, firing and then her suicide on April 3 at aged 50.
After she dispensed 1.4 grams of calcium chloride to the child instead of 140 milligrams, she immediately told nearby staff at the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at the Hospital.
Kim's partner and co-parent of their two children Lyn Hiatt, 49, told MSNBC: 'She was devastated, just devastated.'
Records show that Ms Hiatt had cared for Kaia Zautner many times since her birth, when the baby was brought to the hospital with severe heart problems.
According to MSNBC, she was close to the child’s family, who sought out her care, records show. She was Facebook friends with Alana Zautner, Kaia’s mother, hospital officials said.
After her death, the baby's parents Alana and Jared Zautner asked that Ms Hiatt not look after their child again but did not seek any legal action for her death, according to an investigation report by Cathie Rea, the hospital’s director of ICU.
She wrote at the time: 'Very calm and reasonable people - understandably upset, but continued to say they 'didn't want us to cut off anyone's head over this.'
However, state lawyers said the child’s fragile condition and poor prognosis would have made it difficult to prove legally that the overdose caused her death five days later, records show.
Still, Ms Hiatt was escorted from the hospital after the mistake, immediately put on administrative leave and then fired within weeks.
Julie Stenger, a nurse who worked with Ms Hiatt at the hospital said she was 'a wreck' afterwards: 'No one needed to punish Kim. She was doing a good job of that herself.'
On the day of Ms Hiatt's error, she admitted the mistake in a report submitted on the hospital's electronic feedback system - and vowed not to repeat it.
She wrote: 'I messed up. I’ve been giving CaCI [calcium chloride] for years. I was talking to someone while drawing it up. Miscalculated in my head the correct mls according to the mg/ml. First med error in 25 yrs. of working here. I am simply sick about it. Will be more careful in the future.'
The hospital has been criticised for their decision to sack Ms Hiatt over her mistake and since her death, they have tried to amend procedures surrounding medical staff who commit medical blunders, often said to be the 'second victims' of such errors.
According to MSNBC, there were questions about whether or not other factors contributed to Ms Hiatt's firing. Hospital officials said that she should have recognized that the dose was far too large for such a small child, and that she violated other dosing protocols.
Investigation records show that officials worried that Ms Hiatt didn't fully recognize her role in the error.
'Kim has not shown an understanding of how her deviation from policy in medication administration was in any way responsible for this error,' wrote ICU Director Cathie Rea. 'Her attention to detail and her precision is not what I would expect it to be at this point in her career.'
In 2008, a sexual harassment claim was filed against Ms Hiatt alleging that she acted inappropriately by hugging her and kissing her on the cheek.
Ms Hiatt responded by saying that she was comforting her colleague during a tough time and said the investigation was a 'witch hunt' after more than 14 years of being discriminated against because of her sexual orientation.
MSNBC reported that Ms Hiatt was stunned to be terminated for what she believed was a single medical error in nearly a quarter-century of service. Investigation records reveal multiple glowing reviews.
Just two weeks before the overdose, an August 30, 2010 evaluation identified her as a 'leading performer', earning a mark of four on a five-point scale, records show.
Her partner Lyn said: 'Kim's nursing practice was incredible. She was smart, she was quick.'
Faced with the prospect of not working again as a nurse, Ms Hiatt was said to be overcome with despair, according to family members and she hanged herself in her family's home.