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Medication Errors Common Before, During and After Surgery

According to a recent study, medication errors or adverse drug events occurred in about half of all surgeries done at one of the nation’s most preeminent hospitals.  Specifically, over the course of an eight-month period in 2013-2014, researchers observed randomly selected operations at Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital (“MGH”), and documented every drug given immediately before, during, and after the surgery.

“We knew that medication errors were common,” said Syracuse medical malpractice attorney Michael A. Bottar, “but the results of the study were startling.” During 124 of the 277 observed operations (i.e., 45%), researchers noted at least one medication error or drug-related incident that harmed a patient.  More than one-third of the observed errors injured patients, including three life-threatening mistakes.  Two of the life-threatening mistakes were caught by the operating room staff and one was intercepted by researchers.

The most frequently observed errors were:

  • mistakes in the labeling of syringes,
  • incorrect dosages,
  • neglecting to treat a problem indicated by the patient’s vital signs,
  • medications that should have been given but were not, and
  • documentation errors.

Dr. Karen Nanji, an anesthesiologist at MGH and lead author of the study, has since suggested that it is very likely that this issue could be at least as high at many other hospitals.

The trial lawyers at Bottar Law, PLLC, have decades of experience investigating, prosecuting, and trying to verdict all types of medical malpractice cases, including those involving surgical errors.  To speak with our experienced legal team about your medical care, contact us at (833) 268-8277, by email at info@bottarleone, or by completing an online contact form.

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