They should have. Unfortunately, many hospitals do not report patient medication errors to the patients or their family members—making it more likely that someone else will be injured in the future.
According to a recent article in the Washington Post, patients and their families are rarely told when hospitals make medication errors. Asad Latif, an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, led a study to track the reporting of errors among hospital staff.
Researchers found that many mistakes that are considered non-harmful are not reported to the patient, even if the patient was given erroneous medication (the most common error was omission, or failing to give a patient his prescribed medication).
The mistakes that were likeliest to cause injury took place in intensive care units—and most shockingly, patients and families in the ICU were less likely to be told about errors than patients in other hospital units.
However, the risk of suffering an error that could have led to a patient’s death was more likely to occur in a non-ICU setting. There were 92 potentially fatal dosage mistakes in non-ICU areas, compared to just 18 in ICUs. These extreme errors most often involved medical equipment devices (such as intravenous lines) and problems calculating medication dosages.
Despite the regular occurrence of medication mistakes in hospitals, the study found that over half of the time, no action was taken after an error. Not only were patients uninformed about the mistake, but the hospital staff member who made the error was only informed of his mistake a third of the time.
If you suffered a medication mistake at Norton’s hospital in KY, you should seek legal advice from the prescription drug attorneys at Gray and White right away. Call us today at (800) 634-8767 to get started on your FREE legal consultation.