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Computer checks don't catch all medication errors

Medication errors are a serious concern for hospital patients in Arizona and throughout the nation. The federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that around 1 out of 20 hospital patients was injured by medications in 2015. To prevent medication errors from taking place, most hospitals have instituted some type of computerized medication system. These systems are supposed to prevent medication errors by checking for potential dangers.

According to a study by a nonprofit organization called the Leapfrog Group, computerized medication systems do not catch every potential medication error. In fact, nearly 40 percent of the potentially dangerous medication orders that were put into the computerized medication systems during the study went through the systems without being flagged. The systems did not flag around 13 percent of the mistakes that could have been fatal.

Leapfrog Group, an organization that rates hospitals based on patient safety, conducted the medication study by placing data about fake patients into the medication systems and then ordering prescriptions for these fake patients. Some of the faulty orders that were not flagged included the wrong dose of medication for a patient's weight, the wrong medication for a patient's condition and potentially harmful combinations. A spokesperson for Leapfrog said that the study was a reminder that hospitals and patients need to manually check medications even when a computer system is used.

When a patient is given the wrong drug or the wrong dosage of a correct one, the outcome can range from mild discomfort to death. Those who have been harmed by a medication error may want to pursue monetary compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit. An attorney can help determine whether hospital negligence was to blame.

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

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