Medication Mistakes Occur in 50 Percent of Surgeries
Posted by PKSD Law Firm on November 3, 2015 in Medical Negligence
A recent study at Massachusetts General Hospital found that almost half of all surgeries performed at the countrys top hospitals involve some kind of medication error. This rate is much higher than previously thought and most likely extends to all other U.S. hospitals.
Researchers observed 277 random operations between 2013 and 2014. They also analyzed the patients anesthesia records and documented every drug that was prescribed before, during and after each procedure.
During that time period, 124 of the surgeries had at least one medication or drug error that harmed a patient. The most common errors involved improper dosages, labeling and documentation errors, as well as ignoring issues signaled by a patients vital signs.
More than one third of the errors observed during the study caused injury to the patient, including three instances that were life threatening. Two of those mistakes were caught by the operating room staff, and the third was caught by researchers. Fortunately, no one died because of the mistakes.
The most common medications affiliated with the mistakes were phenylephrine, fentanyl and propofol. One of the most common errors involved the mislabeling of syringes, which must be label properly because many medications are a clear liquid and difficult to differentiate.
Most operating room data relies on self-reported data, which is typically underreported. Although the results of this study are surprisingly high, they are in line with inpatient wards and outpatient clinics. This new information provides a focus for targeted interventions to prevent these common medication errors.