Friday, September 05, 2008

Woman dies at summer camp after being given wrong medication

The Wisconsin camp for people with disabilities, Trade Lake, from which a 25-year-old man with autism went missing in June, now faces permanent closure after 49-year-old Shirley Meade died there in July after being given the wrong drug. As reported here by, Ms Meade, who has been a resident of a group home in St. Paul Park for 20 to 30 years, and is described by the sheriff as “severely mentally challenged” and a ward of the state of Minnesota, died from a dosage of the anti-psychotic drug clozapine that "was too much for what her body could tolerate." Peggy Hjelseth, the camp founder’s daughter, who gave Ms Meade the wrong medication and allegedly "chose" not to seek medical assistance, told investigators during an interview afterwards:

“I screwed up.”

Hjelseth realized her mistake within 30 minutes of administering the drug, [Burnett County Sheriff Dean] Roland said. Hjelseth told investigators she did not seek medical assistance and chose to have Meade “sleep it off.”

Meade slept most of the day and fell at one point. The injuries from the fall were not reported to medical personnel, the sheriff said.

Meade’s condition continued to deteriorate throughout the day until she was found dead by staff about 12:30 a.m. Camp workers called the sheriff’s office right away, Roland said.

Ms Hjelseth faces charges of first-degree reckless homicide.

(h/t to Autism Vox).