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Medication Errors Archives

Colorado hospital shares hepatitis outbreak response information

A former employee of a hospital in a northeastern state has been accused of diverting drugs so that he could steal medication and then replacing the medication with tainted syringes. In addition to any problems caused by medication errors resulting from the drug diversion, 32 people have also been diagnosed with the same strain of hepatitis C that the hospital worker carries.This case has similarities to a Colorado case where a former surgical technician was also accused of drug diversion and of infecting up to three dozen people with hepatitis C. The surgical technician is now serving a 30-year sentence in prison. Following the New Hampshire outbreak, officials from the Colorado hospital and the Mayo Clinic were invited by the northeastern hospital to share the methods they used to deal with their drug diversion problem.

Lawsuit claims medication errors in death of a former soldier

The parents of a former soldier have filed a lawsuit claiming that their son was prescribed an excessive amount of medication following surgery at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The suit was filed in a Salt Lake City federal court against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. According to the lawsuit, despite the fact that the man's oxygen levels weren't stabilized and that he was suffering from sleep apnea, VA doctors disregarded these symptoms and discharged the former soldier. Prior to his death, the man believed he was released from the hospital to make room for more patients. Prescription medication was prescribed to alleviate his pain. While sleep apnea may have contributed to the former soldier's death, the lawsuit claims that medication errors related to the amount of painkillers prescribed by a VA physician were ultimately responsible for his death.

Technology can help or hurt medical practice

Technical advances have made possible many treatment options that were not available even 10 years earlier. However, doctors have to be careful not to develop and overdependence on technology. The use of technology will never replace skill, education and plain common sense when it comes to treating patients.Over the past 12 years, preventable deaths in U.S. hospitals have nearly doubled, from 100,000 to almost 200,000 per year. In fact, the U.S. currently has more preventable hospital deaths than any other developed country, and one in five patients in the U.S. suffer harm from medication errors or other medical errors.

Man suing doctor over improper medication administration

A $3 million malpractice suit against a doctor at a family practice center has been filed in another state. This case may interest Denver readers because it illustrates what can happen when doctors make medication errors. The petitioner claims that the defendants prescribed Proscar, a brand name for finasteride, in order to treat symptoms of male pattern baldness. The drug has apparently not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in this way. He also claims that he was prescribed 500 percent more than the recommended amount, and that the prescription was renewed 13 times over 13 months. A doctor and a physician's assistant are both named in the suit. They are charged with administering medication incorrectly resulting in permanent physical and mental injury to the patient. To compensate for both non-economic damages and medical treatment -- both past and future -- the patient is seeking $3 million.

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