A study published last month in Anesthesiology medical journal revealed an alarming amount of medication errors occur quite frequently in hospital operating rooms across the nation, making drug-related mistakes a leading contributor to America’s rising medical malpractice lawsuits.
According to the study, medication errors occur in almost 50 percent of all surgeries performed. Previous studies have revealed that up to 400,000 people die every year from medical errors, many of which were drug-related.
With so many patients undergoing surgery each year, patient safety advocates are pushing for the proper authorities to address this problem quickly and efficiently.
Medication Errors Study Results
The recent Anesthesiology study focused solely on the frequency of drug-related mistakes and adverse drug side effects before, during and after surgical procedures. The study was conducted over an eight month period, and although errors were made during the study, researchers consistently intervened to ensure there were no fatalities due to the medication errors they observed.
One of the most disturbing results of the study was the stark realization that nearly 80 percent of all medication errors observed by the researchers could have been prevented. This is especially true for medications administered via syringes. These medications were most likely to be given incorrectly because they’re clear liquids that aren’t immediately discernable from one another.
However, if syringes are labelled properly, and if a hospital uses label-scanning software to identify and double-check medications prior to administration, the amount of drug-related medical mistakes could be greatly reduced.
Unfortunately, many hospitals aren’t equipped with label-scanning computer software, or they don’t effectively employ the software.
Surgical Patient Safety
If you’re facing an upcoming surgery, experiencing a drug-related error in the operating room is a very real and frightening concern. But there are precautions you can take to help ensure your surgical experience is safe and free from danger.
Don’t go into surgery alone. It’s important to bring an advocate with you to your surgical procedure. This person can relay pertinent information to doctors on your behalf, such as an underlying health condition or medication allergy, in the event you are too groggy or in too much pain to speak.
Know your medications. Be sure to carry your medications in a see-through bag and make sure your doctors is aware of all medications you are currently taking prior to surgery.
Write it down. Before your surgery, write down any medical-related information you feel is important and present it to your doctor.
Preparing for surgery can be a worrisome and daunting task. If you’ve experienced a medical mistake or drug-related error while in the hospital, the dedicated medical malpractice lawyers at Schmidt Kramer can help you get the justice you deserve.