Drug shortages leading to medication errors in hospitals?

When a person needs medical attention for a serious injury or illness, and are administered to a hospital, he or she will often receive several different antibiotics during the stay. These drugs help doctors treat the individuals, allowing them to return to health more quickly.

However, not every one of these medications performs in the manner intended. If the patient is the victim of a medication error such as a double dosage, he or she may experience significant health problems. Hospitals nationwide have seen these issues arise when there is a communication breakdown on the staff.

Recently, doctors have been studying these issues to learn how they can prevent these situations from happening in the future. In one hospital, there was a shortage of a drug that was frequently used. The drug suppliers replenished the hospital’s supply, but provided double doses in the vials that were received.

When the drugs were catalogued, no one noticed the increase in the amount in each container. Drugs were entered into the system incorrectly, which led to problems when administered. The patients did not suffer any adverse health reactions because of the errors, which prevented staff from discovering the problem until several years later.

Officials with the drug supply company allowed outside review of its practices to gain insight into techniques that can be used to correct these problems. Some of the suggestions included increasing communication between those responsible for purchasing the drug, and those who would then enter the purchases into the system. The purchasers knew they were getting stronger doses, but did not pass this information along to anyone else.

Those who have been injured due to a medication error should discuss their claims with a medical malpractice attorney. These individuals may have been severely injured because of these errors, and could be able to recover compensation to pay for the expenses that result.

Source: Anesthesiology News, “A dangerous interplay:Rx shortages and med errors,” Steve Frandzel, June 2013.

Medication Errors


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