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How common are medication errors during surgery?

For some New Jersey residents, surgery is a necessary step. Whether it is for a major medical issue or minor health problem, patients rely on the expertise of surgeons and medical professionals to get them through the procedure. While these professionals have extensive training and education, mistakes could unfortunately occur. And when it comes to medical errors occurring during a surgery, it is possible for these mistakes to be related to the medications given to the patient during the procedure.

How common are medication errors during surgery? Based on a current study conducted at one of the leading hospitals in the nation, Massachusetts General Hospital, it was discovered that medication errors occur in roughly half of all surgeries. Previously, when medication errors were estimated in the operating room, this was assessed by the self-reporting method. This means that doctors provided their own estimates. With this method, doctors reported that these incidents occurred in just one in every 133 operations.

For this study, 277 surgeries were observed. During those surgeries, researchers observed medications being given 3,500 times. When everything was said and done, the researchers witnessed 193 errors. This means that at least one error occurred in half of the operations observed. In other terms, this also means that one in every 20 medications given was done in error or mistake.

When assessing the errors made, it was found that two-thirds of these were serious while two percent were deemed to be life threatening. While a medication error could be a nurse incorrectly setting up an IV drip, others include being given the wrong dose or the wrong medication altogether. A medication error could seriously impact the health and well-being of a patient. Thus, it is important to understand what rights a patient has following such an incident.

A medical malpractice sit could help an injured patient. This does not only assist with holding negligent medical professionals accountable for their errors and wrongdoings, but it can also help with the recovery of compensation. This financial award could help offset damages arising from the incident, including medical bills, rehabilitation, pain and suffering, lost wages and other damages.

Source: Healthline.com, "Medication Errors Occur in Half of All Surgeries," Cameron Scott, Oct. 26, 2015

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