When a patient is prescribed medication, they assume that they are getting the right medication and at the right dosage. A recent study looked at the rate of medication errors involving registered nurses in hospital inpatient settings. Sometimes these errors don’t cause major harm while other times the effects are irreversible.
Most Common Medication Errors
The study, which examined 1,276 medication error incident reports in hospitals in the southwestern region of the United States, found that high-risk drugs were associated with an increase in medication errors. The most common drug class associated with the registered nurse errors was cardiovascular drugs, which accounted for 24.7 percent of the reports. The study also pointed out that the errors occurred most often in medical-surgical and intensive care units.
The research team also looked at the type of damage caused to the patients as a result of the medication errors. They found that 14 percent of the errors in the medication or dosage prescribed were identified before affecting the patients, 65 percent of such erroneous prescriptions reached the patients without harm, and approximately 10 percent of mistakenly dispensed medications reached the patients and caused harm to them.
How to Prevent Medication Errors
According to the Food and Drug Administration’s Medication Error Reports, 1.3 million people are injured each year due to medication errors causing at least one death every day. These types of mistakes can happen in a many different ways including repackaging, administering, monitoring, dispensing, prescribing, poor communication, confusing directions, etc.
When it comes to medication errors made in a health facility, there are some ways that that the authors of the study propose would help curb mistakes.
- Mandated continuing education
- Simulation-based training
- Additional training for high-risk drugs
- Improve computerized tracking
Medication errors that cause lasting and significant damage may qualify for a malpractice. If you believe that a medication error is responsible for causing serious health problems such as liver failure, heart damage, stroke, or birth defects, speak with a medical malpractice attorney with experience in medication error and compensation claims about what options you may have to recover financial compensation.
Henderson, D. (2016, December 28). RN Med Errors Common, Especially in Medical-Surgical Units, ICUs. Retrieved February 7, 2017, from Medscape Medical News, http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/873778
Muroi, M., Shen, J. J., & Angosta, A. Association of medication errors with drug classifications, clinical units, and consequence of errors: Are they related. Retrieved February 7, 2017, from Applied Nursing Research, http://www.appliednursingresearch.org/article/S0897-1897(16)30376-7/abstract
Medication error reports. (2016, October 20). Retrieved February 7, 2017, from http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/MedicationErrors/ucm080629.htm