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Infusion errors account for over half of adverse drug events

Apr 26, 2018 | Medication Errors

The vast majority of people who enter hospitals in New York will receive an infusion during treatment. The ECRI Institute, an independent nonprofit organization that promotes improvements in patient care, identified infusion errors as the top source of medical technology errors in 2017. Every year, 1.5 million adverse drug events afflict patients, and 54 percent of them arise from infusion errors.

The infusion pumps that deliver medicine and fluids represent a significant part of the problem. According to the Food and Drug Administration, human factors contribute to pump errors, but improved product design could reduce mistakes by replacing cumbersome user interfaces that take nurses’ attention away from other tasks. Current devices force nurses to navigate complex programming systems and spend time troubleshooting pump problems. Frequent alarms from the machines also distract health care providers.

In 2013, the FDA published new guidelines for pump manufacturers. Pump designers have been working to design the next generation of infusion pumps with a focus on reducing errors and making programming easier. A system from Ivenix has a quick release button, an eight-hour battery and bag hooks to enable greater patient mobility. A touchscreen has replaced a confusing array of buttons. The system awaits FDA approval.

A malfunctioning infusion pump or inaccurate programming could cause a drug dosage mistake or fatal medication error. A victim of medical error might have trouble getting clear answers from a hospital about what happened. The representation of an attorney familiar with medical malpractice could produce answers and lead to a financial settlement. An attorney could gain testimony from an independent physician to illustrate that a medical care provider failed to meet the standards of care. Through a lawsuit, a lawyer could help a client seek compensation for medical bills, suffering and lost income.