Hospital Really Sorry About Injecting Man With Execution Drug

In July 2010, 79-year-old Florida man Richard Smith went to the hospital complaining about breathing troubles and stomach pains. After his nurse accidentally injected him with Pancuronium—a drug that's given to death row inmates during the execution process—Smith's health troubles were gone. But so was he, eventually.

Smith's nurse at Miami's North Shore Medical Center meant to give him the antacid Pepcid, but grabbed the death drugs by accident. Whoops! The Pancuronium injection sent Smith into respiratory arrest; he was resuscitated but died a month later. Now his heartbroken family is suing.

Meanwhile, North Shore is sooooo sorry about all this! "This was a tragic event that was immediately self-reported to the agency for health care administration," hospital officials say in a statement. "We conducted an internal review and have several new processes in place to ensure a situation like this doesn't happen again." Nevertheless the nurse who gave Smith his fatal injection remains on duty in the intensive care unit.

You might be wondering why a hospital would have execution drugs on stock. Well, Pancuronium can be used as a regular muscle relaxant. Okay, so now you might be wondering why a hospital would keep such a potentially lethal drug next to its tummyache drugs. That's a question I can't answer.

[Miami New Times, WSVN]