A Look at Hospital Pharmacy Errors

When most people think of picking up a prescription, a retail pharmacy comes to mind. However, each year, a significant portion of the overall prescriptions filled are filled by hospital pharmacies. While there are many similarities between hospital pharmacies and their retail counterparts, there are also major differences that can lead to an increased risk of hospital patients suffering from a Maryland pharmacy error.

According to a recent news report, one of the most likely scenarios in which a hospital pharmacy error occurs is during the transition from the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Indeed, the report indicates that nearly 50% of all patients transferring out of the ICU experience some kind of pharmacy error.

The Results of the Study

The study, which was led by a clinical pharmacy research specialist, observed nearly 1,000 patients over a one-week period. Each of the patients was transferred from the ICU to another unit within the same hospital. The results were that 45.7% of all patients experienced an error with their medication, averaging about 1.88 errors per patient.

The study noted that 94% of the errors were “Class C” errors, meaning that the error reached the patient but did not cause the patient any harm. This may be because the error was caught by the attending nurse or physician or because the medication, although administered to the patient, did not cause an adverse medical event.

The types of errors varied, but they generally included the administration of an ICU-only medication to a non-ICU patient, delivering medication when there was no longer a reason to do so, and failure to administer medication to treat existing symptoms. The medications most subject to being delivered in error were anti-infective agents and hematologic agents.

One of the biggest factors contributing to an error was the number of medication orders. Presumably, the more medication orders a patient has, the more difficult it is for pharmacy staff to keep the medications straight and ensure their proper administration. At the same time, the study found that when doctors make daily rounds to visit their patients, the instances of errors decrease. Similarly, hospitals that discontinue all orders prior to transfer from the ICU and then require physicians to rewrite the necessary prescriptions upon transfer to the new unit also saw a decrease in error rates.

Have You Been a Victim of a Maryland Pharmacy Error?

If you or a loved one has recently been a victim of a pharmacy error, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through a Maryland personal injury lawsuit. The dedicated injury attorneys at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have extensive experience representing clients in a wide range of cases, including medical malpractice and pharmacy error claims. To learn more, and to speak with a dedicated pharmacy error attorney about your case, call 410-654-3600 today. Calling is free, and we will not bill you for our services unless we are able to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

More Blog Posts:

Woman Given Ten Times the Prescribed Dose of Epilepsy Medication Suffers Permanent Symptoms, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, March 21, 2018.

Pre-Trial Settlements in Pharmacy Error Cases, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, February 15, 2018.

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