Frighteningly, the longer a patient stays in a hospital, the higher the risk that they will be victims of a preventable medical error.
If someone is in the hospital for any length of time, chances are they may be the victim of a medication error; one that could have been prevented in the first place. This is the conclusion of a study done by the Institute of Medicine. Many Las Vegas personal injury attorneys have seen instances of medication errors and have assisted their clients to obtain a just settlement.
It appears that at least 1.5 million preventable injuries happen each and every year due to medication mishaps, with over 400,000 injuries involving those in a hospital setting. It should come as no surprise that to rectify these errors there is a significant cost of close to $3.5 billion. Despite what the Institute of Medicine found, there is a good chance that the numbers they used for their study are a great deal lower than reality, as many medication mistakes and their consequences aren’t reported. Las Vegas personal injury attorneys have handled inquiries from people who weren’t sure they were victims of a medication error and didn’t know if they needed to report it or pursue it.
Medication errors may take place anywhere in a hospital, but typically the first place they may happen is when admitting non medical emergency patients. On admission, patients are asked about their full medication history but many don’t provide it, either because they are confused and scared or they don’t want to reveal the medications they take. They may also fail to mention allergies.
Unfortunately, if a full and correct drug history is not forthcoming, the potential for errors multiplies as the information provided, or not provided, makes its way through the hospital system for clarification, and to the pharmacy and the doctor who will order home meds. Add to this mixture other medications prescribed in the hospital taken in addition to home meds and at least four things may happen: someone is given the wrong medication, the wrong frequency of dose occurs, the wrong dose is given, or the drug is omitted and then given too close together when the mistake is realized.
Some of the errors don’t have a serious effect on the patient, in other words won’t cause discomfort or “clinical deterioration.” However, depending on the drug given or not given and what it is mixed with it, there may be other consequences that do cause moderate to severe discomfort and medical deterioration. In a case where the medication negligence of another person causes injury or death, a Las Vegas personal injury should be consulted.
The figures tend to speak for themselves, and the Institute of Medicine found that just about 53 percent of hospital patients had at least one thing go wrong with their medications. Generally speaking, the most common error was forgetting to give a patient the medication they used regularly. Obviously there are serious and fatal errors made due to the negligence of health care professionals.
In cases like this where a patient has been the victim of a medication error, it is best to contact an experienced Las Vegas personal injury attorney and discuss the case. Knowing what rights a patient has while in the care of hospital staff or other medical professionals is crucial.
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