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The use of prefilled syringes in hospitals

Oregon patients might be interested to learn that some hospitals around the country are switching to the use of prefilled syringes over vials of medication in hospital operating rooms. At Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the syringes are in use in the inpatient areas as well. The hospital’s director of pharmacy, business and finance reports that the prefilled syringes have cut down on the workload for nurses and saved money. At Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, some ORs are hoping prefilled syringes will save money and cut down on costs.

Prefilled syringes mean that if an emergency occurs in the OR, valuable time will not be lost measuring and mixing a medication. Administering medication using vials takes about twice as long.

A concern regarding patient safety is that usually when it comes to medication, more than one professional is involved. However, anesthesiologists prescribe, prepare and administer medication without a check from another medical professional. One study found that of 277 surgeries, there were medication errors around 5 percent of the time. Most of the errors could have been prevented.

An error in medication at any point in a patient’s treatment could have catastrophic consequences. These errors could happen for a number of reasons. Fatigue might cause a medical professional to make an error. A pharmacist might misread a prescription, or there might be another type of communication breakdown. The wrong medication could damage organs or cause a setback to their treatment. If a person suspects that the error was caused by hospital negligence, they might want to talk to an attorney about filing a medical malpractice suit. It will be necessary to demonstrate that harm resulted to the patient and that the patient did not receive the requisite standard of care.