A new study has revealed that mistakes in administering medication occurred during approximately half of all the surgical procedures analyzed.
These findings were the result of Boston-based Massachusetts General Hospital’s efforts to quantify the risk of medication errors and improve outcomes during surgery. This study was the first large-scale, systematic research on medication errors during surgery.
The issue is likely even more problematic than the results of the study suggest. This is because Massachusetts General initiated the study in order to improve patient outcomes. Other hospitals that have not taken the initiative to address this issue are likely to have an even higher error rate.
According to Dr. Karen Nanji, an assistant professor of anesthesia at Harvard Medical School and physician at Massachusetts General, these results are not surprising. Although strict safety procedures are common in many hospital settings, they are often bypassed in the operating room due to the nature of performing surgery. Physicians operate under pressure and often need to make quick decisions and take immediate action.
Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center in New Haven, Connecticut has reiterated Dr. Nanji’s assessment that these results were predictable. Dr. Katz pointed out that although it may be difficult to think of highly trained professionals working in teams as making frequent mistakes, we might compare a surgical team to a professional sports team. Even though they are highly trained, they routinely make errors.
Some of the medical mistakes witnessed in the study were: drug labeling errors, incorrect dosing, drug documentation mistakes and failing to properly treat changes in a patient’s vital signs during surgery. According to the Harvard researchers, almost 80 percent of these errors could have been prevented.
All of the surgical errors occurred between the time a patient entered the pre-operative area until they were out of surgery and either in a recovery room or an intensive care unit. Two-thirds of the errors were considered “serious,” and two percent were considered life threatening. The remaining errors were considered “significant.”
If you have undergone surgery and think you may have suffered from a medication error, contact Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP today. We will review your case and fight for the compensation you deserve. With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia, Reading and Bethlehem, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Call us at 800-222-8792 or contact us online for a free consultation with a qualified Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer.