According to a spokesman from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, Arizona hospitals that do not train doctors and nurses in medication safety may be putting patients at risk. Hospital education programs that are inconsistent and "siloed," or specific to a particular discipline, may increase the risk of a medication error. Recent studies show that medical practitioners are often lacking in training and knowledge related to medications.
Approximately 2.5 percent of emergency room visits are for preventable adverse drug reactions. There are indications from collected data that show pharmacists may be able to help lower the number of medication errors.Millions of people in America are taking a number of medications. A report presented at the American Pharmacists (APhA) Annual Meeting showed that lack of medication management at admission and discharge at hospitals is costing a great deal of money because medication errors account for nearly $1.5 million preventable adverse drug reactions that cost $3 billion per year. Many of these incidents can be attributed to poor communication during transitions in patient care.
New regulations in Arizona and across the nation limit first year medical students to 16-hour shifts at the hospital, down from 30-hour shifts. The intent of the shorter shifts was to give residents a break and cut down on harm to patients through medication errors, missed diagnoses and incorrect treatment. However, two studies indicate that the amount of errors may actually be increasing since the change was implemented. The first study was at Johns Hopkins in Maryland. It followed 43 interns on three different schedules in the month before the switch from a 30-hour shift to a 16-hour shift. One schedule was the traditional 30-hour shift every fourth night, the other a 16-hour shift every fifth night and a "night float schedule" that was so unsuccessful that it was dropped before the end of the study. The study showed that despite the extra hours outside the hospital, the residents on the 16-hour shift weren't getting any more sleep on average than their 30-hour counterparts. Furthermore, those residents on the shorter shifts had a higher number of patient handoffs at the end of their shifts, which can lead to a higher incidence of errors.
Residents of Arizona may end up with the wrong medication if medical professionals are not careful when two medications have similar names. A medication error nearly occurred for a patient who was supposed to receive the drug eribulin but was nearly given epirubicin due to an order entry error. Both drugs are for breast cancer treatment, and their similar names have led to clerical errors in the past. In spite of previous mix-ups, the issue had not been reported to the hospital's internal error reporting process, so it was not addressed at the time. In an effort to prevent future errors, the hospital is now using tall man lettering and listing fuller names for the drugs, so they are now listed as eriBULin mesylate injection and epiRUBICIN injection.
According to a study that was published in Health Affairs in 2011, adverse medical errors were a factor in almost 33 percent of patient admissions. Another report from 2012 discovered that of such adverse events, about 44 percent could have been prevented. Surgical error takes many forms. Arizona residents might remember one well-publicized case where a single hospital committed two errors in a row after leaving an object inside a surgery patient, which necessitated a subsequent removal surgery. According to some estimates, medical errors cost around $1 trillion each year in lawsuits, fines, loss of productivity and other indirect costs. Many of these issues could have been prevented by organizational changes and improved communication between providers.
According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, primary care doctors occasionally make diagnostic mistakes that can have serious health repercussions for patients in Arizona and across the nation. For instance, in one documented case, a doctor mistakenly diagnosed a pneumonia-stricken patient with bronchitis, which prompted an unexpected trip to the hospital.The study examined 190 cases of diagnostic errors; 68 of these cases were wrong diagnoses. Errors were spread out across common conditions such as pneumonia, congestive heart failure, urinary tract infection and cancer. Such a misdiagnosis can lead to a medication error or the delay of needed treatment, which can have dire health consequences.
A medication error is a common type of medical malpractice in Arizona. This type of error can result from the negligence of a pharmacist or a physician, and the error may include mistakes with either dosage or the medication itself. A recent medical study has documented medication errors on the part of primary care doctors.
In the United States, medical errors happen on a daily basis, and these mistakes too often cost patients their lives. Consider the example of a man who died due to the removal of a central line chest tube in preparation for his discharge from the hospital. The process of the tube removal was done incorrectly, leading to his death from air bubbles in his bloodstream.
With the large number of prescription drugs being given to patients throughout the state of Arizona and beyond, medication errors are becoming commonplace in malpractice suits. These errors can run the range from dosage mistakes to providing a dangerous combination of prescriptions. For some, a medication error can occur when the medication does not operate as intended, sometimes resulting unexpected consequences. A lawsuit involving a drug was recently settled by Eli Lilly and Co. that could have implications for Tucson residents facing the same medical issues.
Medication errors can occur when a healthcare provider administers the wrong drug or miscalculates the dosage. A medication error might also refer to blood tests that use unsterilized needles. The following story illustrates the serious injury that can result from injections with dirty needles.