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Medication safety risks that may be overlooked

| Sep 5, 2018 | Medical Malpractice |

All it takes is one medication oversight to trigger an adverse reaction that may seriously affect a patient’s health and quality of life. Realistically, not all medication errors that may occur in Ohio are entirely preventable. Oftentimes, it’s not until a serious or fatal reaction affects a patient that risks previously overlooked become clear. For this reason, increasing the awareness of less-obvious medication safety risks may lead to improvements with the management of patient and drug information and communications among staff and medical professionals.

Patient information is required to be kept in electronic health records (EHRs). Even so, medical malpractice injury lawyers sometimes have cases where orders are placed on the wrong patient’s EHR. According to one study, more than a dozen wrong-patient EHRs are placed daily in larger hospitals. Such errors sometimes occur when health care professionals are interrupted or if multiple EHRs are open at the same time. Possible solutions suggested include requiring the re-entry of the patient’s ID to confirm that the correct record is being accessed.

Medication administered by IV is sometimes diluted by nurses to improve patient comfort or slow down how certain drugs are administered. Potential errors associated with this practice include unintentional contamination or infection. Additionally, more than 40 percent of nurses report further diluting pre-filled syringes. The Institute For Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) also warns health care professionals to avoid confusing the available concentration of a certain drug with the much lower recommended patient dosage on electronic records when making medication orders. For instance, insulin may have a concentration of 100 units/mL, yet the patient dose might be 6 units via skin injection daily.

With medical malpractice cases, negligence could include unintentional oversights, such as entering information on the wrong EHR or over-diluting medication. Affected patients may be entitled to compensation for additional medical expenses or time lost from work due to the resulting reaction.

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