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Death of broadcaster blamed on drug pump

Western DistrictThe family of veteran Roanoke public radio announcer Seth Williamson has filed a $10 million lawsuit claiming a faulty pain medication pump caused his 2011 death following hernia surgery.

The suit claimed the patient-controlled anesthesia pump made by Abbott Laboratories Inc. allowed Williamson to receive dosages of pain medication five times the strength prescribed by his surgeon, leading to Williamson’s death.

The infusion pump allowed hospital staff to manually enter information about the drug being administered, bypassing a safety feature, the lawsuit alleged. A nurse was misled by instructions on the pump to enter the wrong concentration for the drug Dilaudid, the suit claimed.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Roanoke U.S. District Court and assigned to Judge Michael F. Urbanski. Robert T. Hall and other lawyers from his Reston firm represent Williamson’s two daughters who sued Abbott as co-administrators of his estate.

No response was filed yet by the defendants.

Williamson, a musician as well as a broadcaster, was 62 when he died in 2011. He had hosted a morning classical music program on Roanoke’s WVTF since 1983.

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