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September 2013 Archives

Hospital errors could claim as many as 440,000 lives annually

Patients in hospitals in Colorado and around the country may be shocked to read that a new study estimated the number of people who die due to medical mistakes in the U.S. at 440,000 per year. This figure includes missed treatment that should have been provided to patients who suffered malpractice under a hospital's care and preventable medical care mistakes known in medical lingo as "adverse errors."

Dangers of sleeping pills

Prescription sleeping aids provide short-term relief, but they may be dangerous in the long run. People in Colorado who take them may want to take not of one woman's story of how she lost her father. The man lost his life while taking the sleep-aid Zolpidem, which caused him to sleep walk and in turn sleep drive. One night, after taking his nightly dose, the elderly man got into his car and drove seven miles, until he crashed into a tree; the car burst then into flames, killing him. Driving, walking and eating while asleep are side effects that some users report when taking sleeping aids. The actions taken under the influence of a sleeping pill are potentially harmful to both the user and to others.

Medication errors frighteningly common

Colorado residents may be surprised to learn just how common medication errors are, some of which can even be fatal. Something as small as a doctor moving the decimal point can lead to a deadly medication error. For this reason, hospitals have set up systems that check and double check medication orders, but according to statistics, they still happen all too frequently. Approximately one million medication errors occur annually, leading to 7,000 deaths. This means there is about one medication mistake made for every inpatient.

Nurse throws perfectly matched kidney in trash

Imagine you are awaiting a transplant as a last measure to cope with kidney failure. Your brother donates his kidney to save your life, but a nurse throws it in the garbage before it can be transplanted. It sounds like fiction, but it actually happened to a young woman scheduled for a transplant in a university medical center. The kidney her brother donated was thrown into the trash. Doctors tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate the organ. The patient suffered through months of dialysis and had four operations before she finally had successful surgery in a Colorado hospital.

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