The medication that you receive while in the hospital may be the cornerstone of the treatment that you undergo or may serve to keep you comfortable enough to continue receiving necessary medical care. In both cases, proper administration of your medication will be crucial both to ensure the efficacy of your treatments and to minimize the risk of adverse reactions.
Although you may have total trust in the medical staff helping you while you stay in the hospital, medication errors at medical facilities are some of the most common forms of modern medical malpractice. What are some of the main causes of medication mistakes?
Nurses and those working in pharmacies often have to juggle numerous responsibilities simultaneously. No matter how much practice someone has at multitasking at work, they could make mistakes or forget information briefly. Those dispensing, repackaging or compounding medication could easily make a mistake if a co-worker or a patient distracts them during that process.
Mistakes with IV machines
In theory, the administration of intravenous (IV) medication would be the safest means of giving someone a controlled substance. The patient can’t pretend to take the medicine and then spit it out, and the possibility of staff members actually mixing up the medications is much lower.
However, all it takes is a slip of the finger for someone to input the wrong information into the machine that administers the IV drug. Timing and dosage errors during IV drug administration can lead to catastrophic medical consequences, including overdose.
Sometimes, doctors put notes in a patient’s file and use the wrong shorthand, leading to staff members administering the wrong drug. Other times, someone during the intake process may have failed to note the medication the patient currently takes or their allergies. They could receive a drug that is dangerous for them given their underlying medical conditions.
No matter how technologically-advanced modern medical facilities become, human error will continue to be one of the most pressing concerns for patient safety. Mistakes in drug administration that are the result of fatigue, understaffing or inadequate training might constitute acts of medical malpractice.
Pursuing a medical malpractice claim can compensate your family for the consequences of a medication error and create consequences for the facility where those mistakes occurred.