Casey Johnson: victim of a medication error?

Syringe 50Johnson & Johnson heiress and Los Angeles socialite Casey Johnson was already dead when an ambulance was called to her Los Angeles home, according to an unidentified woman who made the call to 911.

The ambulance dispatcher asked the woman if she thought Johnson’s  was a suicide. “I don’t know if it’s a suicide,” the caller said. “Very often, her medication gets all screwed up. It’s probably because of that.” As previously reported, Ms. Johnson suffered from Type 1 Diabetes which is treated with insulin therapy.

According to studies by the U.K. National Health Service, insulin is a high-risk medicine. High-risk medicines are those that are most likely to cause significant harm to patients, even when used as intended. Other high-risk medicines include:

Antibiotics (allergic reactions to)
Anticoagulants (blood thinners such as coumadin, warfarin and heparin)
Antipsychotics (used in treating schizophrenia and other mental illnesses)
Opioid analgesics (painkillers such as demerol and oxycontin)

Autopsy results on Ms. Johnson were inconclusive and toxicology results are pending.

Mark Boguski, M.D., Ph.D. is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and is a member of the Society for Participatory Medicine, "a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their health" and in which professional health care providers encourage "empowered patients" and value them as full partners in managing their health and wellness.

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