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New medication error study published

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Among the many types of medical mistakes that Virginia patients may need to be on the lookout for are those involving medications. Data from the Institute of Medicine suggests that every year in the United States there are 1.5 million preventable mistakes involving medications. Other data indicates as many as 98,000 people die from these errors each year.

This is the type of information that was part of the motivation for a study conducted at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. The study used information about 1,276 drug errors spanning five different hospitals over the course of two and a half years. Perhaps not surprisingly to some people, it was surgical units in which the greatest number of the errors occured. Over 30 percent of all mistakes researched happened there. Another 14.7 percent of the errors were found to have happened in intensive care units.

The study also evaluated the prevalence of errors by drug type. It was medications for heart needs that led the way, being involved in almost 25 percent of all incidents. That was followed by antimicrobials with just over 19 percent. Endocrine medications, electrolytes and anticoagulants each accounted for 11.3 percent of the errors that were evaluated in the study. Interestingly it was an anticoagulant called heparin that was the single most cited involved drug in an error.

When a medication error is suspected, a Virginia resident might find it helpful to talk with an attorney to understand how to proceed in investigating the issue and potentially pursuing compensation.

Source: Cardiovascular Business, "Medication errors more common with cardiovascular drugs than other drug classes," Tim Casey,  Jan. 27, 2017

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