Have you ever tried to pronounce the names of some prescription medications? They’re not only hard to say, many of them are spelled similarly and yet their applications and effects can be completely different. Errors in medications happen thousands of times all across country, usually because of a mix-up at a pharmacy, but they also happen in hospitals and clinics.
Take the case of a patient in Tennessee who was treated at Vanderbilt University Medical Center being treated for a subdural hematoma in December 2017. The patient was improving with treatment and was supposed to receive an injection of a sedative called Versed, a standard anti-anxiety medication. The precise events that unfolded are not completely clear yet, but it seems that the nurse who administered the injection used an electronic prescribing cabinet and actually gave the patient a syringe containing vecuronium. Vecuronium is one drug that is often used to cause death in prisoners sentenced to be executed by lethal injection.
The patient at Vanderbilt hospital died, and the investigation centers not only on the mix-up with the medication but also on a possible cover-up after the fact.
It’s obvious to anyone who has ever visited a hospital that they are very hectic places. Hundreds of patients, dozens of doctors, thousands of drugs, tests, and treatments, and yet somehow all the elements seem to come together in a controlled chaos to heal most people and send them back to their normal lives. Hospitals have procedures in place to check and double-check medications, but a mistake can have dangerous or fatal consequences, as described above.
Studies have shown that of all the situations where errors in pharmaceutical medications may occur, it is at the time of patient discharge that most mistakes are made.
When sent home from the hospital it is common to leave with several new prescriptions from more than one physician, or physician’s assistant. When this happens you may wonder about the directions for these new medications, and you’ll possibly not be clear about your current ones. This is the time to stop and ask for help!
Fact: After discharge, medication errors are the leading cause of patient adverse events.
Everyone should keep a current list of all medications, including non-prescription, along with dosages and take time to ask their doctor and pharmacist if everything lines up properly with what is best for their situation. Make sure there aren’t any potential adverse reactions or side effects which may cause harm.
If you have possibly been harmed because of a mistake with medications, you have rights. Medical negligence and malpractice are serious issues and need to be handled by skilled and experienced professionals who know what steps to take. We can put you in direct contact with an attorney who handles medicine errors frequently and has a successful track record helping victims. Click here to get help by filling out the form on our website, we’ll be in touch soon.