Mistakes during drug administration can cause a host of medical challenges. Someone who receives the wrong drug might have an allergic reaction. The wrong dose could potentially lead to severe consequences, including an overdose. Timing errors could decrease the efficacy of someone’s treatment.
People often worry that they could make mistakes when taking a prescription and might prefer whenever possible to have medical professionals administer their medications. Receiving intravenous (IV) drugs may seem like a particularly safe option. A pharmacist or technician compounds the liquid solution of the drug, and then nurses or other trained medical professionals administer the drug with the assistance of specialized equipment.
Despite the faith that people put in IV drug administration, a surprising number of people experience mistakes when receiving IV drugs.
Distraction and small mistakes can cause major issues
Research into the prevalence of IV drug administration errors may raise concerns for patients and those working at hospitals. A small but significant percentage of patients experience some degree of IV drug administration error when receiving treatment at a professional medical facility. Approximately 60% of the serious medication errors in the United States relate to IV drugs, not oral drugs.
Timing errors are among the most common mistakes that professionals make. They may forget to start treatment at a certain time. They might also make mistakes when inputting information into the machine that delivers the medication. Timing errors can lead to patients receiving medication too slowly to be effective or quickly enough to cause an overdose.
Other times, a distracted nurse might make a mistake and input entirely incorrect information into a machine, such as entering the details for the wrong drug. They could also mix up the bags of liquid medication when they have to assist multiple patients, potentially leading to someone receiving the wrong treatment altogether.
IV administration errors can lead to reduced treatment efficacy, dangerous overdoses and a host of other medical challenges. Someone who suffers a poor medical outcome and incurs expenses because of a mistake made at a medical facility may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim. Pursuing compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit is a reasonable response to an error in a hospital or similar environment.