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Study examines overdose and other medication mistakes by RNs

When people in Texas and across the nation need treatment at a hospital, they are expecting to get the proper care from every medical professional who is involved in their case. However, it is an unfortunate fact that a medical mistake can occur. One of these mistakes involves medication errors committed by a registered nurse. To prevent these mistakes, studies are undertaken to determine how and why they happen. These studies can also serve to be a guide for families to have an idea whether a drug mistake resulted in a worsened medical condition or even death. This can be useful if they decide to seek compensation.

Cardiovascular drugs elicited the highest number of medication errors made by registered nurses at 24.7 percent. These were preventable. 11.3 percent that happened in hospitals were linked to coagulants. 35 percent of the mistakes were in medical-surgical units. Next, at 14.7 percent, were intensive care units. Finally, there were 13.3 percent in intermediate care. 65 percent of the patients were unharmed. 14 percent were caught before they reached the patients. 10 percent harmed the patient.

A decade ago, medication errors resulted in a minimum of 1.5 million adverse events due to medications across the U.S. 98,000 die annually from these mistakes. Since nurses are generally the medical professionals who are administering the medications, they are viewed as the last line of defense against the error affecting the patient. The new study looked at 1,276 medication errors from five hospitals across the southwest spanning the time between November 2011 and July 2014 and encompassing various units of the facilities.

To prevent these errors, the study's authors suggested that nurses receive more training and education; learn about high-risk drugs and pharmacology; be trained in drugs in which there are significant errors in which mistakes are avoidable; and have an increase in computerized order entries. Studies are important to stopping such mistakes as an overdose or dangerous drug interactions, but in spite of that, errors happen and will continue to happen. If there is a belief that there was an injury or a fatal medication error, discussing the case with a lawyer can be beneficial to filing a case to be compensated.

Source: Medscape.com, "RN Med Errors Common, Especially in Medical-Surgical Units, ICUs," Diedtra Henderson, Dec. 28, 2016

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