OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Two medical professionals are facing felony charges after the wrong dose of medication led to an elderly patient’s death back in 2020.
In a new court filing from May 11, 2023, the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office charged Justin Samuel Lee and Dr. Alexander Frank under Oklahoma statutes with second-degree manslaughter (culpable negligence that caused the unlawful death of a human) and neglect by caretaker (the defendant neglected a vulnerable adult entrusted to his care, and the defendant’s negligent acts or omissions resulted in harm).
The issue points to incorrectly prescribed medication.
While doses of Methotrexate may vary based on a patient’s needs, the medication is typically administered weekly, not daily, according to medical guidelines.
However, while in recovery for an at-home fall and associated Rhabdomyolysis at the Bellevue Health and Rehabilitation Center in Oklahoma City, the 75-year-old patient at the center of the case was given 100 milligrams over a five-day period instead of 20 milligrams over the span of the entire week.
The court records state that at the time, the physician approved an incorrect dose of Methotrexate via electronic signature to treat the ailment.
As a result of the incorrect prescription, the patient received an increase in medication, subsequently creating “harm and/or an unreasonable risk of harm to Methotrexate toxicity”.
In a recent interview with investigators, the physician stated that he did not conduct a detailed review by clicking through the medical administration record for the patient to verify the dosage.
Moreober, the court documents also allege that the licensed pharmacist contracted to prescribe and dispense medications to patients of Bellevue Health and Rehabilitation “ignored” a computer-generated warning that the prescribed dose fell “above the recommended geriatric daily dose” and failed to follow the computer-generated instructed requirement to verify the dose.
Instead, documents allege that Justin Samuel Lee filled the “dangerous/incorrect Methotrexate prescription” for the patient.
As a result, the patient was give 20 milligrams of the drug daily, over a five day period beginning on May 12.
On the evening of May 16, the patient was found in medical crisis and later intubated and placed on a ventilator.
She died ten days later.
A representative for the Attorney General’s Office said the department cannot comment so early in the case.
However, the criminal filing coincides with a wrongful death suit filed by the family.
In a phone interview with KFOR, a legal expert said in order for the criminal charges to successfully be upheld, a clear pattern of criminal misconduct needs to be proven.