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How common are medication errors during surgeries?

Whether it is in a clinic or hospital setting, patients in South Florida and elsewhere are often prescribed or administered medications. While this is common practice to address medical aliments, injuries and diseases, if medications are not properly given to a patient, these could result in great harm or even death to a patient. Medical mistakes can occur in various settings, but probably none more concerning than when a patient is under anesthesia during a surgical procedure.

How common are medication errors during surgeries? According to a study published last fall, it was discovered that medication errors occurred in nearly half of all surgical procedures. Moreover, the study found that one-third of all medication errors resulted in an adverse drug event or harm to the patient.

The study was based on 275 surgeries that were performed at Massachusetts General Hospital, which involved an observation of 3,671 medication administrations. The results of this study are concerning because this hospital was considered to be a national leader in patient safety, already implementing several safety procedures in the operating rooms. Based on the results of this study, industry analysts think that the rates of medication errors at other hospitals across the nation are just as high or higher.

A concerning result of this study was that roughly 80 percent of the medication errors were determined to be preventable. Moreover, 33 percent of the observed medication errors caused adverse drug events while 66 percent had the potential to cause an adverse drug event.

When medical negligence occurs, such as administering the wrong medication, the wrong dose of a medication, administering a medication too soon or giving a medication that doesn't mix with another medication, a patient could suffer greatly. A patient who suffers injury due to medical mistakes can seek compensation, through a medical malpractice claims, for the damages that they suffered.

Source: Forbes, "Disturbing New Study Finds Medication Errors In Half Of All Surgeries," Robert J Szczerba, Oct. 27, 2015

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