Medication Errors Leave Patients in the Dark

According to a recent report, patients are often not told when a hospital makes a mistake with their medications. The research indicates that hospitals inform patients about a medication error in only 2 percent of occurrences. Therefore, it’s important to remain vigilant about what you are given when you are hospitalized.

The study revealed that in about half of the instances of a medication error, the hospital staff took no further action. Even worse, in approximately 33 percent of the cases, the staff member who made the error was not even aware of the error or told about it.

While the study determined that a majority of the medication mistakes didn’t cause any real harm to the patient, most of the errors that did harm patients occurred in intensive care units. These patients are usually suffering from severe conditions, so a medication error is more likely to have an adverse effect on them.

Some of the most common types of medication errors are:

  • Failing to give medication
  • Miscalculating the medication dosage
  • Giving or prescribing the wrong medication
  • Programming the IV pump incorrectly

The study explained that when hospitals set up a blame-free reporting system, the number of reported mistakes actually increased. This indicates that staff members are more likely to come forward and admit their mistakes if they are not likely to suffer adverse job consequences.

The best way to protect yourself against hospital medication errors is to ask the staff questions about your medicine. Be an informed patient, and know what the proper medication and proper dosage should be. Also, bring a trusted family member or friend along with you to be your advocate if you are not in a condition to ask questions yourself.

Despite taking these precautions, if you have been injured by a medication error, consulting with an experienced New Jersey medical malpractice lawyer can help you get compensation for your injury.

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