Earlier this year we shared the story of the young Chicago infant who was killed when he was accidentally given a dose of sodium chloride that was 60 times more than needed. The baby was born prematurely had stabilized. His family expected him to transferred home but instead he died only 40 days after he was born. The victim’s parents filed an Illinois medical malpractice lawsuit following the tragedy.
Today the Chicago Tribune explained how that medication error was likely caused by the use of an automated program to provide medical care. Specifically, the pharmacy technician accidentally typed the wrong information onto a programming screen which controlled the distribution of the drug. The mistake is an important reminder of the risks that run with increasing technology use in some areas of medical care.
Of course technological improvements often come with important advances in medical care that can help save lives. However, they also come with new safety risks. All medical providers must be aware of those risks and act accordingly to eliminate the chance that patients could be harmed because of the errors. Computer crashes may lead to lost information or jumbled data that cause physicians to have trouble finding what they need in a timely fashion.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration indicate that there have been at least 370 reported problems with health information systems in the last three years. Many of those mistakes led to patient injuries and death. That figure includes only self-reported, voluntary information, so the total number of errors is likely much higher.
Our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys know that the benefits of increase use of technological advances in the medical field must be coupled with additional safeguards to eliminate the new risks. Accidents like the one that killed the Chicago infant must never be allowed to occur. Serious investigations into the ways in which errors occur with these new machines and changes in safety protocols may be required.
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