Concerns Over Numbers of Medication Errors During Surgeries

Connecticut residents might be very surprised to learn that a recent study revealed a significant rate of medication errors during surgeries at a hospital known for excellent patient safety practices. The details for nearly 300 surgeries at a Massachusetts hospital were evaluated, and nearly half of the procedures involved a minimum of one medication error. At least 80 percent of the incidents were considered preventable, and more than 30 percent of the errors resulted in negative drug events.

Some of the most common medication mistakes included labeling errors, wrong dosages, and failure to treat issues based on vital sign information. Additionally, there were errors in documentation. Although none of these medication errors resulted in death, 2 percent of the incidents could have been deadly. Nearly 70 percent of the errors were deemed to be serious in nature.

The situations with the greatest potential for errors were those surgeries that lasted more than six hours and those that resulted in the administration of 13 or more medicines. This information is expected to be helpful as health care providers and administrators work together to develop improved protocols in the most risky situations. Prior to this study, there wasn’t much formal examination of medication errors in the perioperative environment. However, this study is viewed as an excellent starting point for those dedicated to improving patient outcomes. Those who conducted the study believe that the potential for error may be equally high at other hospitals.

A medication error can occur during any surgery. An individual who has suffered serious injury because of a medication error during a routine procedure such as endoscopy or colonoscopy, for example, could face a life of medical challenges and costs because of the situation. In this type of incident, a medical malpractice lawsuit filed with the assistance of an attorney might be appropriate for dealing with the financial and emotional consequences of the error.