When someone says “medical malpractice,” what comes to your mind? If you are like most people, your mind immediately jumps to misdiagnosis or even surgical errors. What many people don’t consider is that medication errors comprise a large majority of medical malpractice cases.
A study conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital, a Harvard affiliate and one considered to be one of the safest hospitals in the nation, found that medication errors occur in about 50 percent of surgeries. Over 275 surgeries were studied in which thousands of medications were administered.
At least half of the patients in the study experienced medication error. This is frightening when you consider that this hospital is truly considered one of the best in America. Among the findings in the study include:
- The most frequently occurring errors were incorrect dosages, labelling mistakes, errors in documentation and a failure to treat issues that were displayed by vital signs.
- Medication errors were found in one out of every two surgical procedures.
- Of the medication errors that occurred, it was determined that 80 percent could have been prevented.
- The longer the procedure, the more common the error.
- Adverse events were recorded in 33 percent of the errors.
When a write from Forbes asked different medical professionals what they thought of the results of the study, the professionals were surprised that the instance of error was not higher. What does that say about our medical system? We have the ability, through technology, to reduce medication errors. The problem is that many hospitals do not employ the technology due to incentive, resources and even time.
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to speak up and ask questions. If you aren’t sure why you are being given a medication or treatment, ask. If a dosage seems too high or too low, say something. You are your own health advocate.
If you believe that you have been the victim of medical malpractice, contact our offices today. We are here to help you determine if you have grounds to move forward with a suit. Call today for a free initial consultation.