People who work at a medical facility should use their expertise to safely administer treatments to those with medical needs. Those who receive inpatient care often depend on hospital staff for everything from their basic nutritional needs to the administration of their daily medication.
While it is quite common for people to assume that hospital employees won’t make mistakes when distributing medication, such errors are actually quite frequent occurrences in inpatient settings. Patients could receive the wrong medication entirely because a nurse mixes up their medication with the pills for another patient. People could also receive too high of a dose of intravenous (IV) medication because of errors when inputting the drug information into a machine. In many cases wherein hospital workers, like nurses, make mistakes when administering medications to patients, multitasking and distractions are to blame.
Small lapses in attention can cause big medical issues
A nurse doing rounds at the beginning or end of a shift may have to stop into several dozen rooms to check on patients, hand out medication and follow up with family members. Distraction will be a constant concern in such environments, as both patients and their family members will attempt to interact with healthcare professionals trying to focus on patient care.
Someone asking a question at the wrong moment might mean that a nurse mixes up to bottles of medication or pushes the wrong button on an IV machine. People attempting to handle patient care while simultaneously interacting with another person can very easily make mistakes. Research into medication errors has found that distraction is one of the top reasons that medical professionals make such errors.
A claim may be possible after a serious medical error
Some medication errors are negligible, but many can have dire consequences. A timing error during opioid delivery could lead to a fatal overdose, while someone not receiving the right medication could undermine the success of their treatment.
Patients affected by medical mistakes and family members of those who have been severely harmed or killed by medication errors may have the right to take legal action. Pursuing a medical malpractice claim after a serious medication error can help compensate those who have been harmed by the distraction or negligence of medical professionals.