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Occurrence rates of drug errors during surgeries

Surgery can range from short diagnostic procedures to lengthy spinal fusions in Arizona hospitals, and even the simplest of these procedures involve risks. One of the most surprising risks may be that of medication errors. A recent study was conducted in a Boston hospital known for being a leader in patient safety. The study covered drug errors in surgeries held over a seven-month period during 2013 and 2014, and the results were surprising given the hospital's reputation.

Medication incidents were evaluated at pre-op, surgery, and post-op points for patients involved in 277 surgeries. The number of medication administrations was 3,675, and there were errors or adverse results in 193 of these instances. With these errors occurring in 124 surgeries, some patients in the study were subject to more than one adverse medication situation during their procedures. Researchers noted that 80 percent of these medication errors were preventable. Only 2 percent of negative events were life-threatening, but no deaths occurred in connection with the procedures in question.

From a statistical perspective, only 5 percent of the medication administrations involved errors, but only 1 percent of these adverse events were unpreventable. As these statistics are evaluated by the medical community, administrative and medical personnel may work to identify common issues contributing to these errors. Just as wrong-site surgery protocols have been developed, efforts may be aimed at developing similar protocols for medication administration.

An adverse result because of medication errors does not necessarily imply medical malpractice. However, the potential for error makes it important for a patient or family dealing with a serious outcome because of medication interactions or allergic reactions to review surgical reports and other hospital records related to the situation. A medical malpractice attorney can often be of assistance in this regard.

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Law Offices of Raymond J. Slomski, P.C.

2929 North Central Avenue Suite 700 Phoenix, AZ 85012 Phone: 602-635-7603 Fax: 602-230-8707 Phoenix Law Office Map