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Child Dies of Heparin Overdose, Investigation Launched

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Omaha, NEA two-year-old toddler died Wednesday after she was given too much heparin at a Nebraska hospital. Almariah Duque, who was in the hospital for multiple organ transplants and also recovering from gastrochisis, died on the afternoon of March 31 at the Nebraska Medical Center. She had been declared clinically dead that morning.

The hospital does not know how or why the overdose happened. A spokesperson confirmed that nurses at the hospital administered too much heparin to the child, and an investigation is currently underway.

Heparin is a blood thinner used for both adults and children, although there are usually different formulations for adults and infants. Few can forget the heart-wrenching story of actor Dennis Quaid and his twin daughters, who a few years ago were accidently administered adult doses of heparin in the hospital. The Quaid children survived; their parents sued.

It was alleged at the time that the manufacturer of the heparin involved had failed to distinctly differentiate between adult- and infant-strength heparin. The vials were of similar shape and labeling. In a busy and stress-filled hospital, mistakes can be made.

"Overall, that's the idea of this investigation, to figure out if there was a mistake, what prompted it, and how we can rectify it, to make sure nothing like this happens again like that," said Paul Baltes, a spokesperson for the Nebraska Medical Center, to KETV of Omaha, Nebraska.

The Duque family hails from Dallas, Texas. "It just seemed like everything was getting to be right where we wanted it, she was doing so good," Kenya Duque told KETV, shortly after her daughter died.

The hospital, while conducting an extensive investigation, indicated it would do whatever it could to assist Kenya and Gregorio Duque in coping with the tragic and unexpected loss of their daughter.

The family indicated they could use help with funeral costs. Their daughter had been in the care of Nebraska Medical Center since December.



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