GIVING THE PATIENT THE WRONG DRUG LEADS TO DEATH - MORE COMMON THAN YOU THINK
A patient complains of shortness of breath after receiving routine kidney dialysis treatment. As a precaution, he was admitted to a local hospital. The next day, while alert and still basically OK, he complained of an upset stomach. His doctor prescribed an antacid. Instead, his nurse gives him a paralytic drug – pancuronium – that was inappropriately stored in the nursing area. This deadly screwup sends the patient into cardiac arrest. He was revived, but the lost of oxygen during the heart attack places him in a vegetative state. He dies a month later. An unusual occurrence, for sure, but preventable medical errors happen far too often and sometime have fatal consequences.
The Institute of Medicine found that up to 98,000 people die every year from preventable medical errors --- the sixth leading cause of death. Medication errors are particularly a problem. Many medication errors --- giving the patient the wrong drug --- are preventable and inexcusable. In an earlier blog in 2010, we discussed the reasons for the most common medication errors.
We'll discuss what you can do to avoid being the victim of medical errors --- and particularly medication errors --- in the next blog. In the meantime, go to our website to a related topic that discusses "why our hospitals are not always safe."
Medical errors are part of the reasons why lawsuits are done. A person looking for help and ends up dying by the very people he was seeking help from. The people who advocate for tort reform in some ways fail to see this and additionally adding medical caps handcuffs the plaintiff.