'I was really scared to death': This woman had air injected into her blood by mistake in hospital

“I’ve been really scared to death: This woman got injected air in the blood by mistake at the hospital


A patient at Charles-Le Moyne Hospital was awarded $25,000 in compensation after having air injected into her bloodstream, a mistake that caused her to lose consciousness.

According to a judgment handed down a few weeks ago, a medical imaging technician caused quite a stir at the hospital in June 2015, when she sent air instead of iodine in the veins of a patient.

“I was really scared to die,” Caroline Rehel told us with tears in her eyes, talking about the scan she had in 2015 for pneumonia which was slow to heal at the South Shore Hospital in Montreal.

The fright of the sixty-year-old patient is not surprising, because the medical error plunged her into respiratory distress and her condition rapidly continued to deteriorate.

Ms Rehel even had to receive “cardiac massage for one to two minutes before emergency personnel arrived who found her unconscious […] with a bluish discoloration of the skin […], the heart who debates, breathing rapidly, his eyes rolling back […]”, can we read in the court decision.

According to respiratory therapist Maxine Feng-Magnan who testified at trial, the error would have could have led to even more serious repercussions, because there was a lack of equipment in this radiology room.

If she had to be intubated “there would have been long delays because [there was] no equipment to do the procedure,” she said. 


It was only a few hours later that the patient eventually regained consciousness in intensive care, completely disoriented.

She understood the seriousness of the situation when a hospital worker told him:

“You scared me, Madam,” Ms. Rehel explained to Superior Court Judge Louis-Paul Cullen during the four-day trial held last January.   

Nearly eight years later, she is still scared when it comes time to have medical exams.

“Today I still wake up in the middle of the night because of nightmares that haunt me”, the patient explained to us.

$15,000 in costs

However, this badly done medical examination did not only had an impact on her mental and physical health, but also on a financial level.

This error, for which she is not responsible, cost her nearly $15,000 in legal advice and expert fees medical.

She even had to borrow money from relatives to cover these costs.

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