Hospital settles lawsuit
over death of diabetic


By David Baker

A lawsuit in which Samaritan Hospital in Troy was accused of causing the death of an 81-year-old man with diabetes by failing to monitor his blood sugar levels was settled in 2007 for $125,000.

The lawsuit was brought by the family of R. Alec MacKenzie of Washington County.

According to the suit, MacKenzie had been transferred from a nursing home to Samaritan Hospital in June of 2004 for management of his diabetes and specifically his glucose levels, and his condition, which required insulin and close monitoring, was known to the hospital.

“On a previous admission to the hospital he had experienced mismanagement of his diabetes and physicians orders and hospital protocol was implemented for him relating to his glucose assessment and management and were in place at the time of his June, 2004 admission,” a document filed in the case says. “Unfortunately, the hospital staff failed to consider the physician’s orders previously written for him or the protocols established and as a consequence he was not property monitored in conjunction with his insulin glucose and nutritional management. His blood sugar levels were not timely measured and determined at safe intervals.”

According to legal papers, at 10:42 on the evening of June 25, 2004, MacKenzie’s blood sugar was found to be at 99 milligrams per deciliter of blood. This, the suit says, was a significant drop from a reading taken six hours earlier.

“However, in the face of that reduction there was no further blood sugar testing done until June 26 at 6:27 in the morning at which time Mr. MacKenzie was found to be comatose and unresponsive,” the document says. “The blood sugar reading at that time was 48 and when repeated was found to be 38.”

The suit says MacKenzie never regained consciousness and died seven days later.

A search of local newspaper archives produced no indication that the case was reported.

The lawsuit was filed in October 2005 on behalf of MacKenzie’s relatives by Troy attorney E. Stewart Jones. It was settled in August 2007.

The hospital was represented by Scott Johnson of  the Albany law firm Thuillez, Ford, Gold, Johnson and Butler.

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