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Report uncovers surgical medication-related errors at hospital

A report issued on Oct. 25 regarding the growing number of medication errors that occur during surgery may be of interest to Ohio residents. According to the report, Harvard researchers evaluating surgical procedures at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston uncovered medication-related mistakes in nearly 50 percent of those procedures. The seven-month study took place during 2013 and 2014.

The report listed a variety of errors, including failing to accurately treat changes in a patient’s vital signs during surgery, drug documentation mistakes, incorrect dosing and errors with drug labeling. The researchers also found that of the 193 adverse drug events and medication errors, 80 percent of them could have been prevented.

The study further found that of the drug-related errors that occurred, 2 percent were deemed to be potentially life-threatening and two-thirds were rated as serious. The researchers labeled all the other errors as significant. The leader of the study, an assistant professor of anesthesia at Harvard Medical School, said that the study is the first of its kind to look into medication errors that occur during all stages of surgery. The professor also said that these problems might be more widespread, especially during surgical procedures where immediate decisions and quick actions often result in safety check omissions. According to the director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, the study shows that the solution to these medical errors begins in recognizing and addressing the cause so that patient care can be improved.

Patients undergoing surgery expect to receive proper medical care, but this is not always the case. Sometimes hospital staff may accidentally give the patient the wrong medication or the incorrect dose of medication. A person who has been harmed as a result may want to discuss these matters with an attorney who has experience in hospital negligence litigation.

Source: CBS News, “Medication errors common during surgery, study finds” , Alan Mozes, Oct. 26, 2015