Stephen M. O'Brien III, PLLC - Personal Injury Attorneys
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Doctor’s don’t always admit to giving wrong medication

Some of our Kentucky readers may agree that when going to the doctor’s office or hospital, you trust that the professionals know how to treat your illness. As most people are not familiar with every medication on the market, when you are given medication by a doctor, you don’t often question if it’s the correct one.

A recent study has found that doctor’s errors in regards to giving patients the incorrect medication are actually very common. The reason more people haven’t heard of this issue is because doctors don’t always admit to doing so if their mistake doesn’t harm the patient. According to this study, 98 percent of patients were unharmed by accidentally being given the wrong medication.

Researchers used a database of 537 U.S. hospitals voluntarily reporting medication errors from 1999 to 2005 to conduct this study. Of the 840,000 reported errors, around 6.6 percent, or 56,000, of the incidents happened in ICUs. While almost all of these incidents did not harm the patient, those that did occurred in the ICU.

Most of the harmful errors involved miscalculation of medication given in patient’s IV lines. The study found that barely two percent of the time families and/or patients were informed right away in regards to the errors or omissions of medication. In fact, more than half of these instances resulted in no action being taken after realization of the error.

Hospitals have literature detailing full disclosure and prompt information from doctors, however this study has shown that those things don’t always take place. Doctor’s errors involving medication, even if they don’t harm patients, should, ideally, be reported. If you or someone you know have been a victim of this type of medication error, contacting an attorney might be of interest to you.

Source: chicagotribune.com, “Patients rarely told about medication errors,” Andrew M. Seaman, Jan. 11, 2013

O'Brien Batten & Kirtley, PLLC is located in Lexington, KY and serves clients in and around Lexington, Keene, Nicholasville, Versailles, Midway, Georgetown, Wilmore, Paris, Bourbon County, Fayette County, Jessamine County, Scott County and Woodford County.

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