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Study Shows Medical Errors in Nearly Half of Hospital Surgeries

Everyone in Louisiana has heard about medical errors happening during surgeries but it is difficult to know how many really happen because most errors are minor and it’s up to doctors and nurses to self-report. A recent anesthesiology study of medication administration in 277 surgeries performed at Massachusetts General Hospital showed an alarming error rate. According to the findings, out of the 277 operations reviewed there was at least 1 medical error in 124 of the operations. That is an error rate of nearly 50%.

“There is a substantial potential for medication-related harm and a number of opportunities to improve safety,” according to the study, published in the journal Anesthesiology. More than one-third of the observed errors resulted in some kind of harm to the patient.

The report defined medical “errors” as any kind of mistake in the process of ordering or administering a drug or an adverse drug event, which includes harm or injury to a patient related to a drug, whether or not it was caused by an error. During the 277 surgeries the report found 3,675 medical administrations when there was an opportunity to have a medical error. The study found that an error occurred in 1 out 20 of those opportunities. The most common errors were mistakes in labeling, incorrect dosage, or neglecting to treat a problem indicated by the patient’s vital signs.

Of the medication errors 30 percent were classified as significant, 69 percent were deemed serious, and less than two percent were life-threatening. Only four percent of the errors were caught by the operating room staff.

While the study does show an alarming number of medical errors, Massachusetts General Hospital is being given credit for allowing the study to occur and allowing the outside world to receive solid statistical information.

Remember, if you or a family member has been the victim of any improper medical treatment in Louisiana, you have legal rights. To find out what rights you may have call the law firm of Earl & Messer at (225) 687-1111 or visit us online at www.earlmesserlaw.com.

Rusty MesserEarl & Messer