South Carolina residents may be interested in new data from the Department of Veterans Affairs that shows a dramatic increase in the prescribing of opiates to injured and suffering troops. According to the data, prescriptions of opiates to VA patients have increased by 270 percent since Sept. 11, 2001. The four main opiates being prescribed are hydrocodone, oxycodone, methadone and morphine.
Many South Carolina hospitals have now switched to digital records in an effort to improve patient care, but digitized medical records can also cause problems. While digital medical records are supposed to eliminate errors related to doctors' handwriting and make access to patient histories easier, faulty information and network problems can put patients at risk. Issues related to digital records are also increasing: The number of medical errors caused by digital records doubled between 2010 and 2011, according to the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority.
In an effort to understand the root causes of medication errors made in hospitals in South Carolina and nationwide, the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority spearheaded a study that was published recently. In the study, researchers looked at both common causes of medication errors and ways that hospitals can eliminate these types of mistakes. The study considered medication errors to include giving patients the wrong drug, the wrong dosage or administering drugs to the wrong patient.
The Annals of Pharmacotherapy has published new research that has found blood thinners are a reason about seven percent of hospital patients suffer from medication errors. The main reason for the use of blood thinners in all South Carolina hospitals is to prevent the formation of blood clots that can lead to a stroke or heart attack. Blood thinners will allow blood in veins and arteries to flow without blockage.
A startling statistic has been peppering recent media coverage related to healthcare. Every week, medical errors kill enough American patients to fill four jumbo-sized jets. Yet when planes crash, these incidents make headlines. The vast majority of fatal medical errors resulting from hospital negligence and other preventable causes pass by unnoticed by all but the victims' loved ones.
A recent study highlights the ill effects that the 25 million Americans with limited English proficiency uniquely suffer when they seek medical help.
A decade after her son died in a South Carolina hospital, Helen Haskell is still advocating for patient safety.
One in seven. According to a new report by federal investigators, that is how often hospital employees both recognize and report errors and other adverse events that injure Medicare patients.
It's widely known that prescription drug dosage errors are a major problem. Attempts to address the causes of medication errors have not been vigorous enough. Some medical providers and pharmacies have tried to cut down on errors by using more electronic records, rather than doctors' notoriously scratchy signatures. Much more, however, remains to be done.