We are all aware of how serious and life-changing medical errors can be, especially if they occur during surgery. In fact, a mistake or error in judgment made during surgery can result in permanent, devastating injuries for the patient. According to a recent study, medication errors occur in nearly half of all surgeries, and about a third of these errors result in harm to patients, or worse. This is an extremely troubling statistic that highlights just how serious this growing problem is. The same study uncovered that surgical patients are three times more likely to experience a harmful medication error than patients anywhere else within the healthcare system.
It should be noted that medical malpractice cases typically occur when a person sustains an injury as a direct result of a mistake made by a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional. There are many different types of scenarios that fall within medical malpractice, such as misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, doctor negligence, surgical errors, and medication errors. Regardless of the error that is made, chances are the results will forever change the life of the patient and his or her loved ones.
How to Prevent Medication Errors
In the past, numbers indicated that medication errors harm upwards of 1.5 million people every single year in the United States. Thanks to the aforementioned study, we know now that medication errors occur in one out of every two surgeries. While not all of these errors result in serious injury to the patient, the fact remains that mistakes are being made in a surgical setting at an alarming rate. Even though many hospitals throughout the country have installed electronic documentation and bar-coded syringe labeling systems in an effort to reduce errors in patient care, we are still seeing far too many of these types of instances take place.
The best way to prevent medication errors – specifically in surgery – from taking place is to raise awareness about this growing problem and encourage all healthcare professionals to play a proactive role in stopping medical negligence. Furthermore, research indicates that patients who are more involved in their care are less likely to fall victim to errors. Here is a look at a handful of other ways we can prevent medication errors from taking place:
- Make sure doctors and other healthcare professionals are informed about every medication a patient is taking
- Make sure your doctor is aware of any allergies and adverse reactions you have had in the past to medicines
- When your doctor writes you a prescription, make sure you can read it
- Ask questions and stay informed about any medications you are taking
- Before you agree to surgery, make sure that you, your doctor, and your surgeon all agree on exactly what will be done
- If you have a choice, choose a hospital that has performed the type of surgery you are having done before
These are just a few tips to help you, the patient, feel more confident about the care you receive in a healthcare setting. To learn more about medication errors in surgery or to discuss a medical malpractice case with one of our Oklahoma lawyers, please contact AMA Law today.