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Dispensing incorrect medication may cause harmful results

New York City residents, who are going through treatment in hospitals, and their families, should be very careful about dosing errors. These medication errors are common in hospitals that stem from the negligence of doctors and other hospital staff.

A recent study shows shocking results of medical treatment errors in hospitals across the United States. The study is based on 840,000 cases of medication error stemming from voluntary reports from 1999 to 2005. These errors reportedly occurred in 537 hospitals of the country.

According to the study's findings, nearly half of the cases occurred due to complete lack of action on the part of the hospital staff. Furthermore, it also came to light that in only one-third of such cases, the medical personnel committing the mistake were informed about the mistake after it was made. In approximately two percent of the cases, the patient or the family was informed about the error. The data show that in 110 deaths, the most common cause was not giving the medication. Other gross errors were related to IV-line administration and the amount of drug.

Medication errors can prove fatal for patients. One may face harmful side effects due to these errors. In the most unfortunate cases, death may also be an outcome of medication mistakes.

Doctors and hospital staff should ensure that they are properly administering drug dosages to patients. Medication should be given in a timely manner and in the correct amount. They should also ensure that no adverse effects are caused by drug mix-ups. Dispensing incorrect medication may result in drug interactions that may cause harmful consequences.

Hospital staff or doctors who commit medication errors may be liable. Under a medical malpractice lawsuit, the liable party may be asked by the court to pay compensation to the victims or their family members.

Source: Counsel & Heal, "Errors in Treatment Rarely Admitted to Patients," Jan. 15, 2013