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Gatineau senior dies after accidental dose of methadone: report

The Gatineau Hospital's emergency department is closed until Wednesday at 4 p.m. according to the Outaouais Integrated Health and Social Services Center.
The Gatineau Hospital's emergency department is closed until Wednesday at 4 p.m. according to the Outaouais Integrated Health and Social Services Center. Google

A coroner’s investigation into the death of an 85-year-old Gatineau man has found that the man died after being given a dose of methadone meant for a patient that had previously been using his room.

According to coroner Pascale Boulay’s report, which was given in French and translated by Global News, the official cause of death for William Madaire was complications from pneumonia, however the medical examiner believes the dose of methadone “contributed significantly to the development of pneumonia and suction that lead to the death.”

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Madaire was first admitted to Gatineau Hospital on Oct. 25, 2017 due to confusion and frequent falls. At the time, he was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and, due to his state of confusion, was placed in hospital under supervision.

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Madaire was later moved out of the emergency department and onto another floor of the hospital.

On Oct. 29, Madaire was mistakenly given an oral dose of five milligrams of methadone that had been prescribed to another patient, the report says, adding that this was not noted in reports on the patient until the next day. Upon learning of the accidental dose, the doctor immediately called for naloxone to be administered to Madaire, the coroner’s report notes, though Boulay said this would have been of little use by that time.

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After several days, Madaire’s condition deteriorated, and as a result, he died of pneumonia on Nov. 4 brought on by the effect the methadone had on Madaire’s ability to breath effectively.

According to the report’s findings, the methadone dose was supposed to be given to the previous occupant of Madaire’s room. The coroner’s report also found a double error occurred as the dose given to Madaire was reportedly registered by the nurse as a completely different drug.

In a statement, the hospital says it has reviewed the report and is committed to taking all the necessary actions recommended.

As the proceedings are still ongoing, hospital officials said they are unable to respond to the circumstances surrounding Madaire’s death.

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