Medication mistakes can be deadly. People can have an allergic reaction to a medication. A drug given in mistake could interact with another medication or exacerbate medical conditions. Not getting a dose of a drug might reduce how effective the treatment of a condition is.
Some people make mistakes when taking medication prescribed by a doctor, but others suffer the negative consequences of medical mistakes not of their own making. Pharmacists filling prescriptions, doctors writing them, and even nurses and other medical staff administering drugs in a hospital or inpatient setting could make mistakes with potentially devastating consequences a patient.
IV drug systems have more opportunities for failure
Given that it removes patient involvement, many people might assume that IV drug administration is safer than oral administration of medicine, but they’d be wrong.
Studies show that inpatient medication administration has an error rate of between 8% and 25%, but that rate actually goes up to between 48% and 53% when it comes to IV drug administration.
Why are there so many medical errors with IVs?
At first glance, such statistics seem strange, as equipment can ensure the appropriate delivery of medication over an extended period of time. In theory, IV drug administration reduces the risk for human error because a machine calculates the dose and times the delivery.
However, humans are the ones who mix the IV bags and who program the machinery to administer the drugs. A nurse might hang the wrong IV bag when starting a drug. They could also input the incorrect settings into the device, resulting in the wrong dosage or timing for the drug delivery. The pharmacist or pharmacy technician who compounded the fluid for IV administration may have made a mistake about what drug they use or the dosage.
Any of these mistakes could have catastrophic consequences for the patient receiving the medication. Additionally, because nurses can simply set the machinery and walk away, it could be hours before anyone realizes the issue, meaning the patient receives a significant amount of medication in the interim.
Medication mistakes can lead to additional costs for your family
When a health care provider or facility makes a mistake that hurts someone’s medical outcome or results in additional treatment expenses, that patient or their surviving family members could potentially bring a legal claim against the professional or facility responsible for the issue.
Determining that a medical mistake occurred is only the first step in the process of getting compensation. You may need to file a malpractice claim or even go to court to receive appropriate compensation for the impact of a serious medication mistake, like the improper administration of an IV drug.