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Study finds medication errors occurred in half of surgeries

When Oregon patients go into surgery, they expect their doctors to make no mistakes when they are under the knife. A study found, however that mistakes were made during nearly half of the surgeries researchers analyzed.

Researchers analyzed 277 surgeries during which more than 3,600 medication administrations were given. Adverse drug events and errors were documented in 124 of those surgeries. About 80 percent of the medication errors were deemed preventable. However, 2 percent of the errors in medication that were made were considered life threatening, though no patients died during the study because of these errors. An author of the study stated that the results were not surprising.

According to the authors, many hospitals and health care facilities have safety checks in place to prevent medication errors. The problem is that these safety checks can be bypassed or loosened if the circumstances suddenly change or an immediate decision is needed. Because doctors and nurses are human, they are prone to making errors; in order to avoid these errors, there must be certain safeguards against them. While humans can certainly help prevent medication errors, automatic systems may also be required to prevent preventable errors.

No matter how careful doctors and surgeons are when performing procedures, medication and surgical errors still occur. In many cases, these errors are preventable but still result in unneeded pain and extra medical expenses. If an error does occur and the patient suffers harm as a result, an attorney might be able to assist with filing a medical malpractice claim against the hospital where the surgery was performed and the doctor who performed the surgery. Depending on the situation, the injured patient may potentially recover the cost of the unneeded treatment and for any pain and suffering.

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