Half of Surgeries Have Medication Errors

medication errors in surgeryIn a recent study conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital, researchers discovered almost half of all surgeries entail a medication mistake. Medication errors are one of the most common types of medical malpractice issues.

Disturbing Hospital Error Results

Between 2013 and 2014, researchers observed 3,671 uses of medication in 277 operations. They noted patients' anesthesia records and recorded each drug given prior to, during and following the surgeries.

Researchers found that 124 of the 277 surgical procedures had some type of medication mistake. Errors like improper dosage, incorrect labeling, ignoring drug allergies in patients and not giving medicines when necessary were common. 

More than one-third of the medication errors harmed patients. Three life threatening errors were noted and intercepted. No one died from medication mistakes during the study.

Medications typically associated with drug mistakes included fentanyl, propofol, and phenylephrine. Syringe labeling was a common error since most liquid medications look similar outside the bottle. Syringes need to be properly labeled to ensure the correct drug is given.

The average number of medications given during a surgery was around 10. There is limited historical data on medication mistakes, but the results of this study have prompted further investigation into the scope of the problem.

The findings caught some patient safety advocates by surprise even though the study results are comparable to rates in other outpatient and inpatient clinics. Because self-reported data in the past did not accurately show error rates, this study was important since it sheds new light on an important medical safety issue.

One of the targeted interventions proposed is the use of electronic documentation to track drugs. These electronic systems could double check doses, allergies and drug interactions.

If you have suffered physical harm due to a medical error, you may be entitled to compensation. The skilled Knoxville medical malpractice lawyers at Greg Coleman Law will work to get the justice you deserve. Call today for a free consultation from one of our Knoxville personal injury lawyers.

Call (865) 247-0080 today or fill out our online case evaluation form.