A recent study published in Critical Care Medicine journal found that patients are rarely told when a medication error is made in a U.S. hospital. According to researchers, most medication mistakes do not result in harm to patients. However, the medication errors that were most likely to harm patients occurred when patients were in intensive care units (ICUs), and ICU patients who experienced medication errors were among the most likely to experience physical harm.
Specifically, researchers looked at approximately 840,000 medication errors that were reported by 537 U.S. hospitals between 1999 and 2005. Researchers found that:
- About 56,000 or about 6.6% of errors occurred in ICUs.
- 110 deaths were reportedly caused by medication errors. 92 of those deaths occurred in non-ICU areas, and 18 deaths occurred in ICUs.
- The most common medication error was the failure to give medicine.
- The most harmful medication errors involved intravenous lines and providing the wrong dose of medication.
Researchers also found that no action was taken after a medication mistake in approximately half of all medication error cases. In many cases, hospital staff who made the mistake were not told that they made a mistake even though the error was reported. Additionally, patients and their families were not informed about the medication error.
Our attorneys extend their best wishes for a speedy recovery to anyone who was injured by recent Kentucky medication mistakes. We also extend our most sincere condolences to anyone who has lost a loved one due to a medication error.