When you have to stay in the hospital, you probably assume you will get a better standard of care than you could provide for yourself at home. There will be someone else there to monitor you and ensure you receive the right treatment.
Unfortunately, medical professionals can make mistakes on the job just like anyone else. Your life-altering medical care is their daily grind. You have no way of knowing if the nurse handing out medication has chronic insomnia or if the person mixing up the medication for intravenous IV administration was busy talking to their co-worker instead of watching what they were doing at the time.
Although you might assume that drug mistakes usually happen at home or at the pharmacy, a shocking number of them take place in the hospital every day.
How frequent are medical drug mistakes in hospital settings?
Medication errors have consistently been among the leading kinds of malpractice claims brought against individual medical professionals and hospitals. While you may imagine that there are many special rules in place to prevent medication errors, all it takes is a momentary lapse of focus for one to occur.
Hospital-based medication errors are the eighth leading cause of death in the United States and are the number one form of medical mistakes in hospitals. Some research has shown that there are mistakes in as many as 46% of IV drug administrations, to say nothing of mistakes when handling oral medication. Improper timing, wrong doses and even the wrong drug are among the most common medication errors.
Medication mistakes can lead to all sorts of severe issues
Getting your pain medication in too brief of intervals could lead to an overdose. Receiving the wrong drug could mean that you have an allergic reaction or that it has a dangerous interaction with another medication you take. The wrong dose could mean not receiving the therapeutic benefits of the necessary drug or getting too much, with possibly bad results.
Hospital staff should do everything possible to avoid such mistakes. When medication errors hurt you or someone you love, you may need to consider a medical malpractice claim as a way to recoup some of your losses.