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Study reveals surgical errors connected to medication mistakes

Despite constant advances in medical technologies and care, there are many patients who continue to receive poor treatment in California and nationwide. Often, this poor treatment comes in the form of medication errors or other adverse drug events during the course of surgery, according to a recent study.

The study involved observation of operations over an eight month period, where researchers observed a number of surgical errors that had the potential for serious injury. According to the study, the administration of medication perioperatively, meaning either before, during or after surgery, included either a medication error or an adverse drug event, or both, in one out of every 20 administrations. Of the medication errors, more than one-third of them led to actual adverse drug events, and the remaining two-thirds of the errors had the potential for serious patient harm. Furthermore, the study also concluded that every second operation led to an adverse drug event or a medication error for a patient.

One of the dangers of medication administration in perioperative settings is that staff may not follow safety checks that are followed when medication is administered at other times. For example, pharmacy approval and multiple nursing checks may not be required. Additionally, medication may be administered in a high-stress environment, thus leading to additional errors. During surgery, if a syringe is swapped or a dosage mistake is made, a patient may suffer significant consequences, including death.

This prevalence of medication errors and adverse drug events during surgery may be astounding to some Californians. Nonetheless, these mistakes occur. If you or a loved one has suffered an adverse drug event or medication error due to negligent operating room staff or a careless surgeon, then you may have legal recourse. An attorney may be able to offer guidance on how to pursue a legal claim in an attempt to recover compensation for any damages suffered.

Source: The Journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, Inc.,"Evaluation of Perioperative Medication Errors and Adverse Drug Events," accessed Mar. 4, 2016

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