Coroner calls firefighter’s death accidental Magdziarz family will sue inadvertent drug’s manufacturer and hospital.

Lake County Coroner David Pastrick announced Thursday a preliminary investigation indicates the death of veteran Hammond firefighter Michael Magdziarz last month was an accident.

The finding appears to eliminate the possibility of criminal charges being filed against the unidentified intensive care unit nurse who allegedly administered the wrong medication to the 51-year-old Schererville man Jan. 7 following open heart surgery at St. Margaret Mercy Healthcare Centers in Hammond.

The Lake County prosecutor’s office said Thursday it’s not planning to look into the matter any further.

Donna Magdziarz, the wife of the man who will posthumously receive Hammond’s Firefighter of the Year award Saturday, said she agrees his death was not a crime.

“A nurse made a horrendous mistake. I don’t believe she intentionally did it.”

Attorneys for Magdziarz family announced Thursday they will file a wrongful death suit against all responsible for his death, including the manufacturer of the wrong drug and the hospital for lack of safeguards to ensure the drug’s proper administration.

A representative for the hospital couldn’t be reached Thursday for comment. The hospital issued a statement the day after the firefighter’s death, admitting its role in Michael Magdziarz’s death and blaming the attending nurse.

Michael Magdziarz underwent successful bypass heart surgery at the hospital the morning of Jan. 7, and according to reports, was recovering until the nurse gave him medication meant for a patient with head injuries. He was briefly put on life support. The family reportedly agreed to remove him from life support after being assured there was no hope of recovery.

Neither the coroner, hospital nor the Magdziarz family have released the name of the inadvertently administered drug. Donna Magdziarz said, “The purpose of the drug is to paralyze somebody who is in distress so they don’t pull their tubing out.”

An initial report released by a coroner’s spokesman Thursday stated they have found evidence of thromboemboli or capillary destruction in both of the victim’s lungs, caused by blood clots. The coroner’s office is still conducting tissue examinations to determine if there was brain damage as well, which lawyers at deal with.

The coroner will not issue a finding on what caused the fatal damage before a final autopsy report and coroner’s verdict is finished, probably before the end of this month. Pastrick was unavailable for comment Thursday.

Chicago attorneys Kurt D. Lloyd and Timothy J. Cavanagh, who represent the Magdziarz family, issued a statement Thursday: “This lawsuit will discover the reasons this unfortunate occurrence took place and compensate the Magdziarz family for the most significant loss.

“This was an absolutely preventable occurrence. Had the medication been properly labeled by the manufacturer, and the hospital instituted appropriate procedures, this wonderful family would have their husband, father and friend with them today.”

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