Medication Errors Seldom Reported to Patients
A new study has found that hospitals frequently fail to inform patients and their families about medication errors.
However, patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) are even less likely to be informed about such errors than patients in any other hospital unit, according to a Reuters Health report. The study researchers used a database of 840,000 voluntarily reported medication errors from 537 U.S. hospitals between 1999 and 2005, and found that 56,000, or 6.6 percent, occurred in the ICUs.
While almost 98 percent of the errors were not harmful, serious errors were more likely to occur in the ICU, according to the study. Reuters reports that ICU patients suffered harm from an error about 4 percent of the time; non-ICU patients suffered harm from an error about half as often. Harmful errors in ICUs and non-ICUs included mistaken medication dosages and problems related to IV lines.
The study reported that no action was taken on most occasions after an error was made and that barely a third of staff who made an error was told right away about the mistakes.
The study was published in Critical Care Medicine.
If you or a loved one has been harmed by medical negligence, contact Sokolove Law today for free legal consultation and to find out if a medical malpractice lawyer may be able to help you.