When you or someone you love has to have an inpatient stay at a hospital, you probably assume that the medical professionals providing care during that stay won’t make mistakes. People expect to receive excellent care and around-the-clock monitoring while staying in a hospital.
However, people in the hospital can find themselves in a variety of dangerous or unpleasant scenarios, often resulting from mistakes made by medical professionals. For example, staff members who don’t engage in proper sanitation protocol could bring an illness from one patient into someone else’s room and possibly infect them.
As if that weren’t scary enough, the staff at the hospital will also be directly responsible for administering medication. There is a surprisingly high rate of risk involved with medication errors during hospital or inpatient drug administration.
How often do hospital medication errors occur?
It is difficult to track the exact rate of medication mistakes, as hospital staff members may only report incidents where they get caught or where the patient has an adverse reaction to the error. However, researchers estimate that as many as 8-25% of all medication administration efforts while in the hospital may be impacted by mistakes. Children are at increased risk for these mistakes.
Common mistakes include timing errors, such as administering a drug earlier or later than is optimal for the patient’s situation. Dosage errors are also common. There are even scenarios where hospital staff give someone a completely wrong drug. Any of these situations could cause an adverse reaction or reduce the efficacy of a drug administered to a patient.
Human error is always a risk when receiving medical care
Although the people who go into medicine usually have a dedication to patient care and the necessary intelligence to deal with a complex workload, anyone can make a mistake, especially when overworked or rushed. Those mistakes can lead to severe consequences for patients.
Receiving the wrong drug or experiencing a mistake in the administration of medication can result in allergic reactions, rejection of implanted tissues or organs, dangerous drug interactions, and even fatalities in some cases.
If you or someone you love has to endure the consequences of a medication error caused by the neglect or oversight of hospital staff, that error could become the basis for a medical malpractice claim.