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Medication errors frequent during hospital transfers

Mar 19, 2018 | Medication Errors

Mistakes at the hospital can be a frightening thought for patients seeking medical care in New York. When receiving treatment for a serious illness or injury, patients are at risk of even greater damage because of improper administration of medication or the use of incorrect dosages. The confusion that can happen during hospital transfers marks one occasion that can be particularly hazardous for patients.

In fact, according to a recent study, nearly 50 percent of patients who were transferred from a hospital intensive care unit to another location experienced medication errors during that time. While many of these errors did reach the patients, in most cases, they did not cause significant harm. However, some medication errors have the potential to cause serious, long-lasting damage that can impact not only a patient’s recovery but his or her life as a whole.

When studying 985 adults that were transferred from a hospital ICU to another unit at a medical facility, the researchers found that 450 patients experienced an error with their medication. These mistakes included wrongly continuing an intensive care-only medication after leaving the ICU, failing to provide prescribed drugs and administering incorrect or unnecessary drugs. The most frequent mistakes were made with anti-infectious disease medications, intravenous fluids, hematologic drugs and diuretics. However, there were steps that decreased the number of mistakes. When physicians carried out daily rounds on patients in the ICU and orders were rewritten when a patient was transferred, fewer mistakes with the potential for harm were made.

People who have experienced a worsened medical condition due to a medication error or another mistake made by a negligent physician or hospital may wonder what they can do. A medical malpractice attorney can consult with affected patients to review their cases and potentially take legal action for compensation for the damages that were caused as a result.