Patients Are Rarely Told About Medication Errors

When medical personnel make a medication error, the patient and patient’s family are rarely told about the error, according to a recent study published in the medical journal Critical Care Medicine. This type of error is a common source of medical malpractice claims.

The researchers found:

  • Patients and/or the patients’ families were made aware of medication errors in only about 2 percent of cases.
  • The majority of medication errors did not lead to harming the patient, but a small percentage of errors may have led to the patient’s wrongful death.
  • The harm that did result from medication error mostly fell upon ICU patients.
  • Failing to administer medication was the most common medication error in all departments.

In an intensive care unit, a patient is battling for his or her life. When a lifesaving medication is administered too late, not at all, or in the wrong dose, the patient can die as a result of the error.

Although about 98 percent of the reported medication errors did not result in harming the patient, some did. To make a medical malpractice claim against a hospital, it must be shown that the medical worker’s negligence or error led to harm.

The study was based on about 840,000 medication error reports voluntarily submitted by US hospitals from the years 1999 to 2005.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of medical malpractice in Orlando or elsewhere in Florida, please contact the Law Offices of Michael Barszcz, M.D., J.D., to schedule a free consultation.