A fatal medication error that resulted in the death of a 7-year-old South Carolina boy appears to be the catalyst for proposed legislation aimed at punishing nurses. The boy died after a nurse administered an incorrect drug dosage that was 10 times what had been prescribed by the doctor.
Government studies and investigations have shown that about half of all prescription medication errors could be prevented. Administering an incorrect drug and other medication errors account for the hospitalization of 100,000 people each year 700,000 visits to hospital emergency rooms throughout the country.
The Institute for Safe Medical Practices maintains a program for medication errors reporting. The purpose of the Medication Errors Reporting Program (MERP) is to serve as a clearing house for information about actual medication errors and other potentially dangerous incidents that have taken place in health care settings. Anyone who follows the program can learn from the mistakes of others.
Medication errors are often serious because a dosage mistake or the wrong drug can cause injuries or even fatal results. A negligent physician who does not check for allergies, or a pharmacist who fails to read the doctor's handwriting properly on the prescription note could be found liable for injuries sustained by a patient.
Most often when people hear or read about medical malpractice incidents, they have happened in the setting of a doctor's office or a hospital. This is understandable, as the kinds of medical mistakes that can take place at these locations, such as a misdiagnosis or a surgical error, tend to make the news more often than other forms of medical malpractice.
When an individual is sick or elderly, he or she will likely depend on medications to help moderate physical or mental conditions. In this regard, prescribing the wrong medication could mean serious injury or possibly death for the patient.
Medical malpractice often involves surgical errors or a misdiagnosis of an illness. But there is another area of medicine that is also a common source of unintended and negative consequences, which South Carolina residents should be aware of. It happens in the place where the medicine itself is distributed: the pharmacy.
When most of us think of medical malpractice claims, we see the defendant as a doctor or hospital, or perhaps another other medical professional or facility that treated the patient. However, there are other types of common medical malpractice cases. Medication errors, which can cause everything from mild discomfort to death, are often the subject of medical malpractice lawsuits.
Hospital negligence and medical malpractice in hospitals hurt patients and their families across the country. A recent report reveals that nationwide more than 325,000 patients die every year as a result of hospital and medical professional errors, many of which could have been prevented.
Pharmacists often review prescriptions with patients in South Carolina and elsewhere over the telephone in an effort to reduce medication errors, but some wonder if they actually help. The efforts really don't assist those who may need more care, according to a recently-published study. The author of the study, an associate professor of pharmacy practice, stated that the results showed that people who are considered low-risk benefit the most from the phone check-ups by pharmacists.