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3 locations where IV medication errors could occur

Patients generally trust their healthcare providers to effectively administer treatments. Particularly when the recommended course of treatment involves a potentially dangerous medication, patients may feel grateful to receive treatment administered by professionals. Receiving medication in the hospital setting can be much more precise than self-administering at home.

However, a significant percentage of medication errors actually occur during professional drug administration. Even if a patient receives intravenous (IV) medication, errors could put them at risk of an adverse reaction or unsuccessful treatment attempts.

IV medication errors are a concern for anyone receiving medication in a medical facility. Where do IV mistakes often take place?

At the pharmacy

Some hospitals and other inpatient facilities have on-site pharmacies. They have professionals who compound drugs, including the suspensions used as IV medications. Unfortunately, both pharmacists and the technicians assisting them can make mistakes. From using the wrong medication to mixing it at the wrong dose, the errors that occur in a pharmacy could lead to poor outcomes for a patient.

At the nurse’s station

Nurses and the professionals assisting them typically handle the dispensation of drugs in inpatient medical settings. They could potentially make mistakes ranging from mislabeling medication to instructing someone the wrong way to set up the IV medication. Mistakes made when receiving the medication or sending someone out to administer it might lead to a patient receiving the wrong drugs or the wrong dose.

In a patient’s room

Even when all a nurse needs to do is input information into a device and hang the bag of IV fluid, errors can still occur. Perhaps another patient pops their head in the room to ask a question, distracting the medical professional at the wrong moment. Maybe they incorrectly input the medication information into the equipment that administers the drug. Timing errors can lead to overdoses and other medical challenges.

When an IV error occurs, patients may suffer significant medical consequences. These consequences might necessitate additional treatment and could generate a host of expenses. Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit could help compensate the patients affected by an IV medication error. Regardless of who makes an IV error, an affected patient should not have to absorb the consequences of a mistake made by a negligent professional or facility.