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The ongoing problem of medication errors in hospitals

On Behalf of | Mar 3, 2022 | Medical Malpractice

Medication errors have been prevalent in hospitals because drugs are so frequently used for patients. Still, this fact does not justify the many preventable injuries and deaths that may occur when the incorrect medication or wrong dosage is administered.

Roughly 10% of medication errors in hospitals result in harm to patients. Hospitals are aware of this problem and need to implement more safeguards such as better-trained medical staff including some who are bilingual, having enough medical staff and ensuring pharmacies provide the right drugs.

Administered at the wrong time

Despite hospital efforts to reduce medication errors, they continue to occur. A review on this subject found that 20% of medication doses is incorrectly administered in inpatient care. The majority of these mistakes were due to providing the drugs at the wrong time.

Here are some common medication errors that occur in hospitals:

  • Administering at the wrong time: Doing so correctly ensures that a person’s body always has an effective amount of the drug. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that failing to take medication as prescribed leads to 30 to 50% of failure in treating chronic diseases and 125,000 deaths annually.
  • Taking the wrong dosage: If dosage is too little, it may prove ineffective in treatment. However, an overdose medication may lead to various complications, including organ failure, seizures, loss of consciousness and death.
  • Taking the incorrect drug: This, too, may lead to a health crisis, including organ failure and death.
  • Administrating by the wrong route: This refers to the way health care providers give the drug. Methods include intravenously, into the muscle, into the spinal cord, under the skin and orally. Administering drugs in the incorrect route may lead to long-term health problems and death.

As you can see, medication errors in hospitals are dangerous.

Understand errors can occur

You trust your health care providers and  expect them to take care of you in the best way possible. A medication error may be an afterthought, but it can happen within a hospital. As a bedridden patient, you already have enough on your mind, worrying about your situation and hoping for a swift recovery. Medication errors will complicate things.