New Study Reveals Staggering Findings about Medication Errors During Surgeries
According to a recent study conducted by researchers at one of the country’s leading medical centers, approximately half of all surgeries performed in the United States involve some form of medication error or result in an unintended drug side effect for unsuspecting patients.
These staggering new statistics resulted from a study conducted by academicians from Massachusetts General Hospital’s anesthesiology department. The findings were recently published in the medical journal Anesthesiology after researchers observed 277 procedures at the Massachusetts medical center, which were selected at random during a seven-month period between 2013 and 2014.
The research method of this new study stands in stark contrast to those conducted previously, which were primarily generated through self-reported data from clinicians. Prior self-reported studies portrayed significantly lower rates of medications errors; whereas the new study, which involved actively watching procedures while they were being performed, found much higher rates. In addition, the new findings revealed that over one-third of the noted medication errors resulted in some form of harm to the patient.
Since a 1999 study published by the Institute of Medicine brought attention to the issue of medical errors, hospitals and medical professionals have implemented a host of procedures and policies to avoid instances of medical malpractice and hospital negligence. Unfortunately, these errors were recognized as the leading cause of death among Americans, claiming a minimum of 44,000 lives each year.
Some of the steps put in place since this issue was brought to light include checklists to avoid surgical errors and electronic prescribing systems to avoid prescribing errors, and yet medication errors during surgery still occur with astounding frequency, as is evidenced by this new report. Compounding the issue is the fact that, due to the use of anesthesia during these procedures, patients remain entirely unaware of errors that may be life-threatening or cause them harm.
Ultimately, the study revealed that some form of medication error or adverse medication reaction occurred during every-other procedure, with longer operations posing a greater risk. The study’s authors recommended increasing safety protocols to prevent these errors and an overall improvement in safety measures at hospitals and medical centers across the country. Until then, those who have suffered and continue to suffer the devastating results of these lapses are provided with a legal mechanism through which to hold negligent medical professionals and their employers responsible.
If you or someone you love is facing a similar situation due to a medication error, prescription negligence, or another form of medical malpractice, contact Fronzuto Law Group to learn more about the options that may be available to you. Consultations are always free of charge and we are pleased to answer all of your questions.
For additional information related to this issue, access the following article: Hospitals Mess Up Medications in Surgery—a Lot