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1.3 million people have injuries that result from medication errors annually in the United States.
A study recently published in Pediatrics found that one American child was given the wrong medication every eight minutes, although many of these errors were caregiver errors.
A definition of medication error is “any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the healthcare professional, patient, or consumer.
Medications that are associated more commonly with death or severe adverse drug events are those medications that involve the central nervous system, the cardiovascular system, or cancer chemotherapy drugs.
The black box warning system that was established by the FDA in 1995 alerts doctors to the increased risks that are associated with some drugs. In my own family, my father was discharged from the hospital with a prescription for a medication that would have caused a fatal drug interaction with another medication he had been taking for a long time. Anyone who begins a new prescription should understand the drug and its effects, and any interactions with other medications they are taking.
Prescription drug abuse is an epidemic in the United States, and sometimes a physician may be negligent by prescribing a dangerous drug to a patient at risk.
One problem arises when a doctor prescribes a narcotic to a patient who may be dependent upon narcotics or may be abusing them.
Overdose death drugs rise yearly, and in 2010, 38,329 people died of drug doses in this country, according to the US Center for Disease Control’s National Center for Health Statistics.
Prescription drug overdoses are usually unintentional, with 74% of prescription drug overdoses resulting from accidental ingestion.
Although hospitals and pharmacies have tightened restrictions on prescribing, it is still relatively simple for many people to obtain a large supply of painkillers or anti-anxiety drugs like Xanax or Ativan. Although the FDA requires the manufacturers of opioid drugs, like Vicodin or Oxycontin, to provide education for doctors, their track record is poor.
Plaintiffs have been successful in lawsuits against physicians who have prescribed dangerous drugs irresponsibly. Doctors who are specialists in pain management should be especially careful, as they are often responsible for the prescription of powerful and addictive drugs over an extended period of time. If you or a family member has suffered as a result of negligent prescribing practices by your doctor, you may have legal recourse. Many nursing homes under-employ staff with the experience and ability to administer medications correctly. If your loved one in a nursing home has suffered a serious injury or death as a result of neglect or outright reckless conduct, call Passen Law Group at 312-527-4500.
Among the most common drugs involved in medication errors are blood thinners and antihypoglycemic medications prescribed for diabetes. A recent study  found that warfarin (Coumadin), oral anti-platelet medications (Plavix, aspirin), insulin and medications like metformin or glipizide.
Sometimes equipment malfunctions, and large doses of drugs that should be administered over a long time period are delivered too rapidly.
Morphine and other uploads are stacked together in a locked cabinet, with similar packaging, contributing to errors.
Acetaminophen causes multiple problems, due to its various strengths and measuring devises for dispensing it. With antibiotics, liquid concentrations cause confusion, especially over the measurement m: and the teaspoon. System errors include inadequate staffing, handwritten orders, and doses with trailing zeros or ambiguous labeling. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a medication error, you should see an attorney who specializes in medical malpractice. Another recent peer-reviewed study by Accredo Health Group and several university hospitals highlights how the wrong medication and other administration errors can be life-threatening.
To speak with a top Chicago medical malpractice lawyer, call Passen Law Group at (312) 527-4500 for a free consultation. An example of a medication error caused by misread prescription written by physician caring for diabetes patient.
One research study revealed that the amount of medication errors and medicine mistakes involving doctor’s bad handwriting was a shocking 37 errors for 100 prescriptions (37%). Medication errors are so commonplace among medical professionals that these medicine mistakes have a nickname: they’re called an “ADE” (for “Adverse Drug Event”).
Consider a case out of Texas this week, where the poor penmanship of a doctor was so impossible to read by anyone else that a patient was killed by a fatal medication error, as a kidney dialysis patient hospitalized for amputation of a toe was given 120 millimoles of potassium instead of the prescribed 20 millamoles. At trial, the doctor explained that he had decided to up the dosage from 10 to 20, and used his pen to change the “1” to a “2.” Seems like an easy enough thing to do, right?
Except it was read not as “10” or as “20” but as “120” — and as a result, the 72 year old woman died from an overdose of potassium. The jury found for the family and against the doctor this week in a jury trial; the hospital has already settled with the patient’s family.
Long ago, whether or not a doctor had bad handwriting was not such a big deal, because they were always around to answer questions and oversee things. These preventable ADEs are shameful, and rarely are they going to be freely acknowledged by the health care providers to the patient or their family. A good piece of advice if you or a loved one has been harmed because of a medical provider’s error, is to at least speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer before you file a claim to learn about some of the issues that can arise with these claims, including the type of evidence needed to prove a claim and the type and amount of damages you can recover. If you found this information helpful, please share this article and bookmark it for your future reference. To learn about the 5 things you get when you hire Alan Sackrin, click on the "About" link above. In a slip and fall case can you infer the grocery store had knowledge of the substance on the floor?
How Do You Know If A Business Acted Reasonably In Trying To Prevent an Office Slip and Fall Accident? The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience. We often note here that quality improvement in hospitals seems excruciatingly slow to happen, and engaged patients and families need to keep their eyes wide open, because sometimes a fix doesn’t require being a genius.
We’re in our 13th year after To Err, yet this morning SPM member Paul Bearman spotted this article by Maura Lerner in the Minneapolis Star Tribune and posted a note on our member listserv. What I love about the story is how intelligent change can be so wonderfully effective.   A small tweak reversed critical failures in discharge prescribing.
He and his colleagues decided to do a spot-check of 37 patients who were discharged from the hospital to nursing homes over three months in 2008 and 2009. The most common problems: Hospital physicians had prescribed the wrong doses, duplicate medications or omitted medications. The project worked so well, Thompson said, that some doctors now call the pharmacist before they write the discharge orders. Share the Star Tribune article with your hospital (and nursing home’s) pharmacy staff.
I personally know of two cases in my own family, in the past year, where medications were overlooked or wrong at discharge. Kudos to Bruce Thompson and team at Hennepin County Medical Center – and to all the people there who gladly adopted the change.
The doctor’s original thought is still, in a way, being inspected by the pharmacist before the order is being written.
I hope that the pharmacists aren’t continually finding and fixing the same problems, whether before or after order writing. That pharmacist inspection step is going to be prone to failure, before or after order writing, since 100% human inspection is never 100% effective. I appreciate the efforts being made in hospitals, but what about the walking wounded in the clinics. Participatory Medicine is a model of cooperative health care that seeks to achieve active involvement by patients, professionals, caregivers, and others across the continuum of care on all issues related to an individual's health.
One of the most horrifying examples in recent history was when a woman woke up just before her organs were harvested for transplant, like something out of a gory horror movie.
The most common mistakes in blood transfusions revolve around identifying the blood and patient correctly. One of the surgical mistakes that’s considered a “never event” is when patients receive the wrong surgery.
Despite all the safety procedures that have been put in place to ensure that wrong surgeries do not happen, they continue to occur more often than acceptable.


Most people assume that the medicine they receive from their doctor or pharmacist is the correct drug at the correct dose, but millions of people every day get the wrong prescription.
Most people go to the hospital to be treated for illnesses, yet this is also where many diseases and infections originate.
One 39-year-old woman was admitted to a Bronx, New York hospital just before 5:00 AM after complaining of abdominal pain. The Agency for Healthcare and Research Quality (AHRQ) estimates that close to a million patients each year sustain a fall while they are under medical supervision in a hospital.
The misuse of bed rails in hospitals and long-term care facilities is also a major concern. In Rhode Island, one hospital performed three brain surgeries on the wrong part of the brain in less than a year.
On the other hand, most of these errors are preventable, especially if nurses will take the necessary precautions. It has been estimated that one out of three adults who are 65 years and older falls every year. As nurses, we can protect our patients from falls by encouraging them to ask for help when getting out of bed, knowing the patients’ activities by checking on them often, and by utilizing protective measures such as nonslip socks or bed alarms. Hand hygiene is one of the most vital practices that nurses should never take for granted, as it is also immensely important for preventing infections. Sometimes, this task is pretty tough because nurses have a whole lot of other things to do aside from writing down notes and documenting all the events that have happened during the shift. But remember: If a patient contracts an injury, it could reveal neglect based on lack of documentation.
To prevent this common mistake, make sure that you monitor your patients regularly and document every intervention you have performed, including the correct time. This is common especially to new nurses who are so eager to try out everything on their first week.
A patient care environment should be constantly kept safe, and as nurses, it is our responsibility to be well-informed with whatever changes any equipment we use has.
But errors like these are very preventable as long as we are careful and we know what we are doing.
About the Author: Mary Elizabeth Velarmino Francisco earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree from the Ateneo de Zamboanga University, Philippines. Arrests In Brevard County: August 2, 2016 All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
VIDEO OF THE DAY: Whale Watchers Get Up-Close Encounter From Massive WhaleA group a sightseers got closer than expected to an enormous fin whale during a recent whale-watching excursion. Pro Tennis Classic Raises $36,000 To Benefit Parker Foundation and Scott Center For AutismExecutive teams from Revolution Technologies, Kiwi Tennis Club, Courtside Celebration Committee members as well as representatives from both benefactor organizations gathered at Kiwi Tennis Club last Thursday for a check presentation ceremony. The first two women shown in this surveillance video from Publix located at 2000 Cheney Hwy are suspected of check forgery. Drugs may have similar names and the order or prescription may be written wrong, written illegibly, or incorrectly transcribed. The most common error is improper dosing of a medication, and in 1998, the FDA found that dosing errors caused 41% of fatalities resulting from medication errors. Every patient who receives a prescription for a medication is potentially at harm, despite the many benefits of effective medication management. If your doctor has wrongly prescribed a medication or if you were a hospital patient who received the wrong dose or wrong medication with serious consequences, you should consult a Chicago malpractice attorney at Passen Law Group for a review of your records. There have been a number of lawsuits in the news as a result of alleged medical negligence in prescribing. Some doctors refer to these patients as “frequent fliers.” At one time, emergency departments would keep a card file with these patients, but that practice has been outlawed.
Many overdoses occur in people who are treated by their doctors with a combination of narcotics and sedatives. In the past, knowing the risks of addiction and overdose, pharmaceutical representatives continued to encourage physicians to over-prescribe.
An Alabama widower won $500,000 in a lawsuit after his wife died of an overdose from narcotics and sedative-hypnotic drugs. These physicians should be especially careful by screening their patients for drug abuse or addiction, and they should sign a pain contract, which allows them to terminate care if patients obtain narcotics from another physician. Sometimes these errors are not only due to lack of qualified staff but to failure to train and supervise employees.
The 2006 study described harmful medication errors as 1.5 million incidences ranging from the prescription to administration. Additionally, interactions are not checked when new medications are prescribed and this can even be fatal in some instances, particularly with cardiac medications.
Medications errors may be due to negligence and it is important to call attention to these systemic problems.
Science Daily reports that this number may be much higher, with as much as 61% of the medication errors taking place in hospitals being the result of a physician’s handwriting that is simply too hard to read correctly, or from a transcription error when someone tried to decipher what the doctor had written. When these ADEs cause serious injury or death all because someone’s handwriting isn’t legible, then it’s a real injustice since these are obviously preventable events. The doctor argued that this was not all his fault, because 120 millimoles of potassium is so over the range of acceptable dosages for a human that anyone on the hospital staff — any nurse, any lab tech, any doctor or nurse practitioner – would know (or should have known) that 120 was the wrong number. In today’s modern medical environment, doctors aren’t always hands-on with their patients, especially during their hospital stay. If you or a loved one suspect that they have been a victim of an ADE or medication error, then you may need professional investigation and legal assistance to discover the truth and get justice. Most personal injury lawyers, like Alan Sackrin, will offer a free initial consultation (over the phone or in person) to answer your questions.
It’s a great example of the positive impact pharmacists can make when positioned properly in the healthcare system. From my own experiences in a large HMO, I finding about 50% errors, and thanks to the pharmacist that caught the last one. Participatory medicine is an ethical approach to care that also holds promise to improve outcomes, reduce medical errors, increase patient satisfaction and improve the cost of care.
Unfortunately, that fear may be well-founded, especially when you consider the horrific mistakes that happen every day in hospitals around the world. But in many cases, the problem is preventable, like when surgeries are performed on the wrong person. Air that is allowed to enter the bloodstream during surgery can cause a blockage in the circulatory system, an event known as a venous air embolism. Even people who survive can be left with permanent physical disabilities, such as severe brain damage. Unfortunately, this routine aspect of medical care can also be extremely dangerous when mistakes are made, most commonly when the wrong blood is given to the wrong patient. Blood can be incorrectly labeled when collected, the wrong blood can be dispensed, or medical personnel can administer the wrong blood during surgery or at the patient’s bedside. In a study of medical lawsuits, 25 percent were for patients who received a different surgery than what they were scheduled for. One woman had her fallopian tube removed instead of her appendix, while another patient received a heart operation that was not needed. Exposure to deadly illnesses through contaminated medical instruments or poor staff hygiene isn’t something you hear about too often, but it occurs with alarming frequency. According to the most recent US Center for Disease Control’s Healthcare-Associated Infections Progress Report, preventable infections from hospitals in the US are improving but are still too prevalent. One woman went to the emergency room complaining of neck pain and a headache, but was having trouble vocalizing her symptoms.
However, you’d assume that those in need of immediate assistance would still receive the care they need. Although the woman was listed as “urgent” and blood tests were drawn, she remained untreated until well into the afternoon.
The FDA has documented almost 500 deaths from the use of bed rails, admitting that there are probably many more deaths that have not been correctly attributed to these devices.
Their overwhelming workload may sometimes lead to errors that are, in some cases, irreversible or even fatal.
In fact, according to the National Medication Errors Reporting Program, medication errors kill one person every day in the United States.
Make sure that you have minimal distractions when administering medications and you’re good to go. Falls do not only contribute to so many physiological effects, but they also traumatize the patients, and cause them to be anxious and apprehensive.


Remember to practice aseptic technique and to properly clean equipment in a timely manner, to prevent the possible spread of infection as early as possible. Also, report unusual events to the supervisor or nurse manager and see to it that you are documenting on the correct patient. Every nurse should know the correct and proper ways to transfer, carry or move patients from one place to another. To prevent injuries, ensure that all equipment have been examined properly and use them only as suggested.
Subscribe to the mailing list and get a daily update with the most important news about Consumer! This study, published by the Institute of Medicine, titled To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System, found that medication errors accounted for more than 7,000 annual deaths at that time.
In nearly half the cases in one study, patients taking a medication with a black box warning were not monitored appropriately.
A list of drugs with a black box warning or post-market safety concerns can be found on the FDA Drug Safety website. Another family member was given the incorrect instructions for Coumadin, or warfarin, and ended up taking 10x the dose, putting him at high risk for an intracranial hemorrhage.
Today, most states keep detailed prescribing records of scheduled drugs, and in some states, before writing a narcotic, a physician is obligated to check the state database to determine if the patient has been “doctor-shopping,” or visiting a number of physicians to acquire a steady supply of narcotic drugs. In its place, however, there is a computerized registry that can be easily accessed by physicians to determine with some likelihood if a patient is abusing his or her prescriptions.
Many heroin addicts, who are by and large a young population, get their start with prescription drug experimentation, often stealing drugs from their parents or grandparents. A nurse in Mississippi died of an overdose in the hospital when her doctor prescribed one opiate when she was already under the influence of another powerful opiate. However, after signing such a contract, they should also check the state registry to be certain the patient is compliant. There should be protocols and guidelines for facilities in which these drugs are utilized, and failure to follow created protocols is malpractice.
Doctors may right the wrong medication, or may fail to look up interaction with other drugs. Much of the health care given to patients today is by non-physicians, who have been delegated the task of one-on-one care of the patient. Medicine mistakes and drug errors are seriously harming people and medication errors are killing patients all over the country, but the health care industry isn’t going to help victims voluntarily. Most people have heard horror stories of medical instruments being left in patients, a common mistake that happens to an estimated 4,000 people every year in the US. Even with new protocols, there have still been reported errors in which the wrong patient has received an invasive surgery. Luckily, the 41-year-old woman opened her eyes just as surgeons were about to remove the organs. What is most frightening about air embolisms is that they can happen during very routine surgeries, yet are extremely deadly. Out of every 10,000 units of blood that are transfused to patients, it is thought that one of these units is the wrong blood for the intended patient.
From July 2008 to July 2009, there were 535 blood transfusion errors reported through the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority alone. Over a 20-year period, 2,447 lawsuits were filed for surgeries that were performed for the wrong procedure. One of the most tragic stories is that of a pregnant woman who was scheduled to have her appendix removed in 2011. Between 2012 and 2014, dozens of patients were exposed to the fatal Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease from contaminated surgical instruments in at least four different hospitals in the US. It is estimated that 1 in 25 hospital patients contract an infection while in the hospital, with about 75,000 people dying due to these infections every year.
However, there is no excuse when symptoms of common ailments are overlooked due to incompetence. The rushed emergency room doctor dismissed the issue as just a muscle pain, releasing her with only pain medication.
Finally, the physician in charge of her case ordered a CAT scan and noticed fluid accumulation.
Patients who are very ill and have limited mobility can become wedged in between their hospital mattress and the bed rail, causing suffocation and strangulation. Even with precautions, such as physically marking the body before surgery, these inexcusable surgical errors still occur. In 2010, a man in Florida had his healthy kidney removed instead of his gall bladder, which was the intended organ. Also, do not hesitate to ask questions about the drug if you are in doubt and remember to double check any medication that is to be given before administering it.
With coffee running through her veins, she enthusiastically battles each day, one article at a time. Lawrence River in Quebec, when the animal passed beneath the group’s inflatable boat.
An adverse drug reaction is any response to a drug that occurs at a dose normally used for therapy that results in a noxious effect that is not the result of medication error.
This happens more frequently than the general public might imagine, and, because physicians are vested with the power to prescribe powerful drugs, they have the responsibility to prescribe cautiously and responsibly.
Many older people in the country complain of chronic pain disorders, and, rather than prescribing physical therapy, non-narcotic analgesics, or topical treatments, doctors today tend to write prescriptions for narcotics.
Since doctors are dependent upon these surveys for employment, they are frequently afraid to deny narcotics to patients who may be drug abusers or addicts.
More importantly, without adequate dissemination it can be difficult for other institutions to benefit from the practices reported here and ultimately to generate improvements for patients.
However, there are many other medical and surgical errors that still happen to unsuspecting patients, often causing severe injuries or death. In a prostate biopsy mix-up, one man had his healthy prostate removed while the man who needed his cancerous organ removed was left untreated.
Although the surgery was stopped in time, the fact that the surgical staff was about to remove organs from a patient who was still alive points to a plethora of mistakes that are horrendous to contemplate. For example, a seemingly simple dental implant surgery recently turned fatal when an oral surgeon gave air embolisms to five patients in one year, killing three of them. Fourteen of these mistakes resulted in serious adverse effects, and one patient died during surgery. The next day, the woman was readmitted to the same emergency room and died of cardiac arrest from the stroke she had apparently been having the day before.
Too often, patients are left untreated when the medical help they need is just down the hall.
Doctors and hospital pharmacists may fail to check drug interactions, resulting in serious side effects or even death. This trend is a real change, as narcotics were primarily limited in the past to patients suffering from cancer pain.
At the same time, doctors don’t want to deny pain medications to patients who may legitimately be suffering. The air is thought to have been introduced into the patients’ bloodstreams through the hollow dental drill. The woman was readmitted to the hospital three weeks later when the mistake was discovered, but unfortunately, she miscarried and died on the operating table. The doctor who had treated her the previous day admits that he should have recognized the signs of stroke, blaming himself for her death.
She died on the operating table, 13 hours after she was admitted to the hospital for a treatment that she should have received within minutes. Doctors may ignore or overlook compromised kidney or liver function, failing to reduce doses or discontinue harmful drugs. What makes this story even more tragic is that, if they had followed up immediately on the initial blood tests, they would have easily recognized that she had internal bleeding and she could still be alive today.
When a dose is calculated by a doctor or nurse to be given IV, the drug dose may be off by a factor of ten or more, simply by misplacing a decimal point.



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