Modern medications can achieve incredible results, but they also come with significant medical risks. Errors in drug administration are responsible for many of the known risks associated with prescription drugs. Interactions and overdoses are both serious possible consequences of a medication mistake.
If you were to ask the average person where their risk of a medication mistake is the highest, they would probably tell you the biggest danger is at their own home. However, the truth is that one of the forms of drug administration commonly seen as the safest actually has one of the highest error rates.
Professional drug administration is not always error-free
People generally presume that medical professionals will not make mistakes when administering prescription drugs. Although people can easily see how a nurse might mix up pills while handing out oral medication in a hospital ward, many people think of intravenous (IV) drug delivery as the safest delivery method.
After all, a complex, computerized device manages the delivery of the medication. Statistics about medication mistakes paint a very different picture. Error rates with IV drug administration are higher than people think. Even conservative studies place the error rate at between 3.3% and 9.4%, with some international research showing minor mistakes occurring in as many as 50% of all IV drug treatments.
Although many of these mistakes are minor timing issues, some of them can be much more significant. They range from a nurse giving someone the wrong drug to a pharmaceutical technician compounding the medication improperly. Some of these IV drug mistakes will result in dire medical consequences or even death.
How do you prove your concerns about a medication error in the hospital?
If you believe that a drug administration error affected your care or the medical treatment of a loved one, gathering evidence to support your concern is crucial.
Keeping notes about things you witnessed or heard in the hospital that made you suspect an error could help. So could making a request for medical records from the hospitalization. A review of those records could show a discrepancy between what you experienced and what they reported or could lay bare a mistake in the administration of the drug.
Recognizing the risk for a medication error in the hospital could help you take necessary legal action to address this dangerous form of medical malpractice.