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Medication error causes respiratory failure, death

Hospital personnel in Florida are expected to perform their duties with diligence. Patient records are to be properly kept and consulted before any action is taken regarding the patient's health, and doctors must ensure their duties are carried out with thoroughness, accuracy and efficiency.

Yet, too often medical personnel lack diligence. This can lead to medical malpractice that can result in injury or death. No hospital, including those in Miami, is safe from poorly performed professional duties.

A recent case tells this all too common, unfortunate story. A nurse's medication error appears to have led to a woman's death. The victim, who was sharing a hospital room with a cancer patient, was given a powerful pain killer that was intended for her roommate. Shortly after receiving the wrong medication, the victim experienced shortness of breath, and later died of respiratory failure. The hospital is currently being sued by the victim's husband.

Incidents like this are easily preventable. Health professionals only have to double check patient files and records before providing any services. This may slow hospital services a bit, but it will ensure that patients are safe and medical personnel provide accurate services.

When medication errors lead to further injury or death, a victim's family have a right of action against the hospital. This action enables the victim and family to recover for medical expenses associated with extra required care, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and loss of companionship. This compensation can ease financial burdens hoisted upon innocent victims and their families by inattentive medical professionals.

The process of medicating is supposed to be a safe, effective way to treat patients and their symptoms. Yet, human error can make it one of the most dangerous processes in the health field. Doctors and nurses who make mistakes should be held responsible and pay for what they so easily could have prevented.

Source: News Channel 5, "Lawsuit Claims Hospital Injected Wrong Patient With Painkiller," Nick Beres, May 16, 2012

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