When you think of surgical errors, what comes to mind? Does this question conjure images of foreign objects left inside a patient, a surgeon operating on the wrong person or body part, or maybe a surgeon removing a healthy organ? If so, you aren’t alone since most Ohio residents probably envision the same things.
However, many people miss one glaring and common surgical error: medication mistakes. When you’re scheduled for a surgical procedure, you will more than likely receive medications before, during and after the procedure. That leaves a lot of room for error.
It’s more common than you think
A study conducted by researchers from Harvard University discovered that medication errors occurred in 124 out of 277 surgeries. During those 277 procedures, the patients involved received a grand total of 3,675 medications. Of that total, 193 mistakes or adverse events occurred in their administration. To make matters worse, researchers discovered that nearly 80 percent of the mistakes didn’t have to happen.
The surgeries used in the study happened at a hospital known for its safety record over a period of seven months between 2013 and 2014. Can you imagine how many errors occur at hospitals whose safety records are not nearly as good? Most hospitals have drug safety protocols to help reduce the number of medication errors. However, following these protocols before, during and after surgery doesn’t seem as much of a priority.
What the data showed
The data revealed that two percent of the errors threatened the lives of the patients involved. Fortunately, no one died from those life-threatening drug errors. Researchers considered approximately two-thirds of the errors as serious and the rest significant.
Don’t dismiss an adverse drug reaction
What does this mean for you? Don’t discount the possibility that a medication mistake resulted in an adverse reaction, especially if it caused you significant harm or left you with permanent injuries. Hospitals and medical personnel continue to struggle with transparency regarding medical mistakes of all kinds.
If you believe that an error occurred, you may want to consult with an attorney. A review of all of the available evidence by a qualified medical professional could reveal that you did suffer from a medication mistake. An attorney can advise you of your rights and advocate for you in a medical malpractice claim. A legal advocate could represent you regarding settlement offers and in court, if necessary.