Anna Nicole Smith and her Accidental Death

            Unfortunately Anna Nicole Smith was a victim of an accidental death due to an overdose of sleeping medications as well as eight other prescription drugs.  Smith’s system acted on the respiration and circulation systems and basically shut them down (CNN). It is extremely important to consider any other medications that the patient has been taken because it subsequently will have a near death or deadly outcome.  There was no “foul play” or illegal substances found.  The medical examiner for Smith’s death stated that her death was from the “combined drug intoxication’ with the sleeping medication chloral hydrate as the major factor in combination with therapeutic levels of other drugs” (Fox News Website). CNN states, that a contributory cause in Smith’s death was a viral flu and a bacterial infection from injecting drugs into her buttocks. Smith’s sudden spike in fever a few days before she died to an alarming 105 degrees was likely a symptom of the infection caused by an injection of a weight-loss drug into her left buttock.

The nursing process and the Five Rights of Drug Administration are incorporated towards drug therapy. Before Miss Smith was given the medications, there should have been knowledge about her past history and the medications she was currently taking. Healthcare professionals need to promote “maximal benefit with minimum harm” as well (Lehne, pg. 10). Due to other medications that were prescribed for Miss. Smith, she should have had patient education on all medications and their side effects with one another. She should have never been prescribed medications that would interfere with her already prescribed medications. These medications included methadone for pain, Valium, anti-anxiety, anti-depression drugs, along with longevity medications of B12 and growth hormone, which are used for weight loss (Fox News Website). Her doctors should have taken more precautions based on all the medications she was taken. An assistant medical examiner’s report described seeing a table in Smith’s hotel room containing cold medicine, sodas cans, Slim Fast, nicotine gum and an open box of Tamiflu tablets (Fox News Website).

Although, Miss Smith’s death was reported as accidental, her idol Marilyn Monroe also died of chloral hydrate and barbiturates. Even though she had lost her twenty-year-old son Daniel, there were no signs of suicidal tendencies.

We need to know how to manage toxicity of certain drugs mixed with others. As stated by Fox News, “Dr. Chip Walls, a forensic toxicologist for the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami, said chloral hydrate is rarely prescribed and is known to be fatal if combined with certain other drugs including the sedative Lorazepam, which the autopsy showed she was taking” Medication administration is not something to be taken lightly because it can become very dangerous and may cost someone his or her life as it has done to people the past. We as patient advocates need to be held responsible for any mishap. Miss Smith could still possibly be alive today had she had an evaluation of her self-care and the drug therapy. Granted if she had helped herself by going to get treatment for her fever and the infection she had at the site of injection she may still be here as well. She has had been depressed and had anxiety issues, so she should have been observed and evaluated even more frequently. Hopefully, every drug prescribed was effective for her. Lehne states, “We must take into account the unique characteristics of each patient. That is, we must individualize therapy (Pg. 10). As these instances prove of accidental over doses, it holds true that “There is no such thing as a safe drug” (Lehne, pg. 2).

References

Anna Nicole Smith’s Death Due to Accidental Overdose [Television series episode]. In Fox News. New York, NY: Fox News. (2007 03 26). http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,261160,00.html

Lehne, Richard A. (2007). Pharmacology For Nursing Care (Sixth Edition).  St. Louis, MO: SAUNDERS ELSEVIER.

Officials: Smith’s Death Caused by Overdose. [Television series episode]. In Cable News Network. Atlanta Georgia: CNN.com (2007 0327). http://www.cnn.com/2007/SHOWBIZ/TV/03/26/smith.autopsy/index.html

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: