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Study finds many hospital infusions are done erroneously

According to a study that has been published online, more than 50 percent of intravenous medication infusions done in hospitals are made in error. Although most of the errors pose little risk to patients, Connecticut residents might be interested in learning the cause of these mistakes.

As one of the most common kinds of hospital-related errors, IV medication errors are often committed because of a failure to comply with hospital policies. To combat the problem, experts have tried using various technological endeavors such as smart pumps. While implementation of smart pumps has reduced the errors, they cannot be completely eliminated without strong clinical practices and medical practitioners who comply with them.

For instance, errors during hospital IV medication infusions occurred when violations were made pertaining to tubing change polices and IV labeling. These actions accounted for about 65 percent of the known errors found in the study. However, since these mistakes were not directly associated with smart pump use, the errors were found to be largely due to administration practices.

Smart pumps have reduced the number of IV medication errors because of their built-in safety elements such as dose error reduction systems and drug libraries. In fact, more than three-fourths of United States hospitals utilize smart pump technology. However, when it comes to other, more harmful medication errors, such as omitting medications, infusing medications at the wrong rate and administering unauthorized medications, technology alone cannot prevent them.

Whenever a hospital patient suffers a medication-related injury because of a repeated act of negligence on the part of a nurse or doctor, the victim might be entitled to pursue a medical malpractice claim. An attorney who handles these types of cases could find out how the negligence occurred by analyzing the patient's hospital records and obtaining testimony from a medical expert.

Source: Infection Control Today, "Majority of IV Medication Errors Linked to Clinical Practice, Not Technology", March 8, 2016

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