Articles Posted in Medication Dosing Error

pharmacy error in news

Reports Reveal That Walgreens Execs New of Prescription Error Risks

Although completely preventable, prescription drug mistakes are some of the most persistent and damaging medical errors that can happen and cause nearly 9,000 people to die as a result each year. And according to The New York Times in a report published on February 21, 2020, executives from a major U.S. drug store chain know all too well how those mistakes can happen but still did nothing to help. Walgreens executives knew of the complaints by pharmacy employees that “unreasonable” stress levels were leading to errors in filling prescriptions. Executives later removed the damaging remarks and “high level findings” from presentations created by a consulting service hired to examine the company’s computer system for filling prescriptions, the Times said.

  • Amy Bixler, the director of pharmacy and retail operations at Walgreens, told consultants to delete a bullet point that mentioned how employees “sometimes skirted or completely ignored” proper procedures to meet corporate metrics.

outpatient center mistakes

Up To 80% of Outpatient Medical Errors Are Preventable

Medical errors aren’t just a concerning issue for big hospital networks. A new white paper released in 2020 by the nonprofit Foundation for the Innovation and Development of Health Safety shows that as many as 4 in 10 patients are harmed in primary and outpatient healthcare settings (globally), with up to 80% of those medical errors preventable.

The whitepaper research highlights included:

picu nurse mistakes

Report Shows PICU Nurse Distractions from Work Phones Could Be Cause of Medication Errors

A late 2019 research study published in JAMA Pediatrics shows that not only are pediatric nurses multitasking and overworked in intensive care units (ICU), they are receiving too many distracting calls on their work phones that may lead to mistakes in administering medications to young patients.

An overview of the report titled Association Between Mobile Telephone Interruptions and Medication Administration Errors in a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit includes:

legionairres' outbreak investigation

Legionella-Related Cases Being Investigated at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage

Becker’s Hospital Review is reporting that three individual cases of Legionnaires’ disease are being investigated at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage in Winfield, Illinois. According to the report, one individual was an inpatient at Central DuPage, while the other two had outpatient visits.

In Illinois, state and local health departments typically take the lead in investigating possible Legionella cases but may request help from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) when necessary, such as during an outbreak. In 2018, state health departments reported nearly 10,000 cases of Legionnaires’ disease, a rate which has grown by nearly nine times since 2000.

medical malpractice

6 Wrongful Death Lawsuits Settled for Ohio Families Impacted in Deadly Pain Medication Scandal

Several news outlets from Columbus, including WBNS-10TV, are reporting two additional families representing Ohio patients who died from fentanyl overdoses at Mount Carmel West have reached separate wrongful death settlement agreements totaling $700,000.

  • Court records reveal one of the settlements involves patient Peggy Francies who died in October of 2017. Her family will receive $500,000 in compensation.

pain medication overdose

Health System, Intensive Care Doctor, Pharmacist, and Nurse All Sued for Giving Excessive Doses of Powerful Pain Medicine

An Ohio hospital system has been at the center of intense scrutiny after one of its former intensive care doctors is said to have ordered “significantly excessive and potentially fatal” doses of “comfort” pain medicine for at least 27 near-death patients over the course of several years. One family is suing the health system as well as the doctor, pharmacist, and nurse responsible for allegedly giving an improper dose of fentanyl to their 79-year-old family member even though they had asked that lifesaving measures be stopped. Fentanyl, also known as Actiq, Duragesic or Sublimaze, is an especially potent painkiller used to treat extreme pain. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), strains of fentanyl can be up to 50 times more powerful than morphine.

Although the hospital, part of the larger Mount Carmel Health System, has since acknowledged the doses in many similar patient cases were larger than needed. A legal team will now investigate as to whether the acts were intentional, and if the lethal drugs were possibly used improperly to accelerate the patients’ deaths.

medical malpractice lawsuit

History of Common Malpractice Errors May Be Unknown to Patients

A recent investigation led by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, USA Today and MedPage Today found that even when surrendering a medical license because of unprofessional conduct such as sexual assault, medical malpractice or prescription abuse, physicians simply leave their bad history in one state and move their practice to another while continuing to make deadly mistakes as risky medical experts. Equally disturbing is that if a physician voluntarily surrenders his license, the public may not ever be able to access or gain knowledge about why the surrender occurred. Although the National Practitioner Data Bank has more than 1.3 million records of “adverse actions” going back to 1990, files can only be accessed by hospitals, insurers, and state medical boards. Individual states can file a complaint, but only if prompted to inquire of a physician offender’s harmful patient history.

Additional investigative findings published in December 2018 from the news organizations included:

The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit group dedicated to hospital safety, has released their biannual Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade report, showing an overall improvement in Illinois hospitals since the spring. According to Leapfrog, the survey measures hospital patient safety by the number of “errors, injuries, accidents, and infections.” Participation by hospitals is optional and this fall, 110 Illinois hospitals agreed to take part. According to the data collected, Leapfrog rated Illinois hospitals as #13 overall, an improvement from #15 this past spring.

In a time where the increasing problem of medical errors is finally being given the platform it deserves, the survey is more relevant now than ever. The Leapfrog Group, citing an often quoted 2016 Johns Hopkins study, notes that medical errors are now the third leading cause of death in the United States. Patient safety and healthcare provider accountability is essential for all hospitals and healthcare organizations. Below is our analysis of the Fall 2018 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade report for participating Illinois hospitals.


Illinois & Metro Chicago Hospital Results

The Center for Justice and Democracy (CJ&D), a consumer rights group out of New York Law School, has shared their list of 22 famous figures who have been harmed and even killed by medical malpractice.

Most of us are familiar with the high profile drug-related tragedies of Michael Jackson (2009) and Prince (2016) and even Judy Garland (1969) and Marilyn Monroe (1962). Some of us are familiar with the details surrounding the death of comedian Joan Rivers in 2014 during an endoscopy at a New York City clinic.  But it was surprising even to us to read the details of medical neglect in cases involving other beloved celebrities. As CJ&D pointed out in their report, no one is exempt from medical negligence or malpractice, not even celebrities with all the money and resources in the world at their fingertips. The report also shared several findings that now have become well known to the public. Among them, that medical errors are the 3rd leading cause of death in this country.

Each of the 22 cases highlighted in the report has resulted in a settlement or verdict (or is pending) and in many of them, grieving loved ones or the victims themselves have said that it’s not about money, but instead about enforcing a sense of right vs. wrong in the face of injustice.

A recent study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings reveals that 54% of American physicians report feeling burnt out at work. Lead study author, Stanford pediatric physician Daniel S. Tawfik, and his team found that those experiencing burnout were TWO times as likely to have made a major medical error in the last 3 months. Study authors also believe that based on this information, 1/3 of all American physicians are experiencing burnout at any given time.  Researchers describe burnout as “emotional exhaustion or cynicism.”

The study questioned 6,586 physicians in active practice at an American hospital or clinic and asked them to report feelings of burnout, excessive fatigue, recent suicidal thoughts, their thoughts on patient safety on the unit in which they primarily work, as well as those who had made a major medical error. The authors found:

  • 54.3%  of physicians admitted feeling burnt out
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