On behalf of The Weitz Firm, LLC on Friday, October 26, 2018 Posted in Medication Errors.
The Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority has recommended that all hospitals in the state start measuring patients’ weigh in kilograms instead of pounds. The change is recommended in the hope that healthcare providers will make less mistakes when figuring out medication dosages.
According to the story, “Errors dosing chemotherapy drugs, blood thinners, and other pharmaceuticals can make treatment less effective or put patients in danger.”
According to the Patient Safety Authority, they received 1,291 reports of errors related to patient weights over a seven-year period and that many of those reports involved confusion between pounds and kilograms.
You see, most medications are dosed and given based on kilogram weights, part of the metric system that the US has failed to adopt, despite most of the rest of the world using it. These errors are causing harm to patients and even costing some their lives.
At the Weitz Firm, we know that conversion issues are only one medical problem that people encounter in the healthcare setting. If you need a Philadelphia medication error attorney, we will work with you to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.
What Can Happen?
Medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the United States and many of those mistakes revolve around medication errors. In fact, studies show that preventable medication errors impact more than seven million patients a year. These occur when patients are given the wrong medications or the wrong dosages. Sometimes, they do not receive their correct medications at all.
When it comes to medication distribution in the hospital setting there is a three-tiered process that is meant to reduce mistakes. A doctor orders the medication, a pharmacist fills the order, and a nurse gives it to the patient. This allows for multiple checks along the way. Unfortunately, there is nobody there to check the nurse.
Both doctors and nurses have given explanations of why medication errors occur:
- Problems with the medication supply
- Stress and fatigue of healthcare providers
- Distractions when dispensing the medications
- Inadequate communication between providers
Upon leaving the hospital, studies show that up to 30 percent of patients have at least one medication discrepancy on their discharge orders. This can be a dosage problem or a medication being left off their list. Regardless of the mistake, it can lead to patient harm.
Patients are often prescribed and given medications even when they have a documented allergy to the medication being given. This can cause severe reactions and even life-threatening anaphylaxis.
What You Can Do
We know how devastating medication errors can be. If you or your loved one have suffered from a medication error and you think it was due to the negligence of a healthcare professional, seek legal assistance before moving forward. At the Weitz Firm, our experienced medical malpractice team will get to work on your case today.