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May 2013 Archives

Blood Thinners Account for 7% of Hospital Medication Errors

Millions of hospitalized Americans every year receive short term anticoagulant or antiplatelet treatments to stabilize acute coronary syndromes and prevent embolisms that might otherwise result in heart attacks, stroke or death. New research is demonstrating, however, that blood thinners like heparin and coumadin are often administered incorrectly. According to a study that appears in the May issue of "The Annals of Pharmacotherapy," medication errors involving blood thinners account for fully seven percent of all medication errors in clinical settings.

Medication errors common cause for elderly hospital readmission

Elderly residents of Colorado may be shocked by the results of a study showing that readmission following a hospital stay is a common occurrence. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation study found a readmission rate of one elderly patient out of every eight discharged from a hospital. This outcome has led some medical centers to reduce the risk of complications following discharge by establishing care coordinators. Patients in other facilities must often rely on state-run assistance programs or family for care coordination.

NCAA attempts to control brain injuries

College football players have always been exposed to a high risk of traumatic brain injury, but the NCAA is now imposing standards that it hopes will lower that risk. The organization is focusing on brain injury prevention by tweaking rules in college football play in order to keep players safer.

Diagnostic errors more common than surgical errors

When an individual living in Colorado or elsewhere goes to a doctor, he or she is more likely to receive an incorrect diagnosis than be the victim of a surgical or a medication error. This is based on a study done by Johns Hopkins University and published in the BMJ Quality and Safety journal; it showed that in the last 25 years, misdiagnosis was the most common error made by medical professionals. Incorrect or delayed diagnosis caused more patient harm than than medication errors or surgical mistakes based on the number of claims filed and penalty payouts.Researchers took data from the National Practitioner Data Bank and their findings are based on over 350,000 medical malpractice claims that had payouts. Of these claims, over 28 percent were due to misdiagnosis. The mistakes listed in these claims were also those most likely to end up causing disability or the death of a patient. Based on this information, researchers have extrapolated that between 80,000 to 160,000 individuals have been harmed by a wrong or late diagnosis.

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