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2 Nurses Are Charged in Death of Patient

September 20, 2003|Wendy Thermos | Times Staff Writer

Two nurses have been charged with involuntary manslaughter after an 80-year-old cancer patient died from a sedative administered without a doctor's order, Burbank police said Friday.

Kelly Ann Miyasato, 31, of Redondo Beach and Amy Brunner, 25, of Alhambra were also charged with practicing medicine without certification in the June 7 death of Pierre Azar of Burbank.

Azar "was having a very uncomfortable night" while in the intensive care unit of Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank when the two nurses tried to calm him with an unspecified medicine that requires a doctor's approval, Sgt. Steve Berry said. The patient, who was terminally ill, died shortly afterward.

"It's an unfortunate, one-time accident," Berry said. "They overdosed him without intent to do so." Because the nurses failed to consult a doctor as required by law, investigators decided to seek criminal charges.

"This is in no way a mercy killing," Berry added. "The dosage was normal for a healthy person, but he was frail and apparently the dosage given to him was too much for his condition."

Investigators said it was unclear why a doctor's authorization was not obtained. Hospital spokesman Brian Greene said the nurses have been fired as a result of the incident.

Berry said he expects the two women to be arraigned in Burbank Superior Court in early or mid-October. The nurses were released on their own recognizance to await court proceedings. If convicted of involuntary manslaughter, the women would each face up to four years in prison.

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