Medication Errors More Likely When Nurses Are Interrupted

Bloomberg Businessweek is reporting that a new study shows that when you interrupt a nurse while they are tending to the patients’ medication, you increase the changes of medical error. As the number of nurse distractions increase, the number of medical errors tend to increase as well. A director of the Health Informatics Research and Evaluation Unit stated that as more interruptions occur, the greater the risk of serious error will go up. In one instance, four interruptions in the course of one single drug administration doubled the likelihood of a patient mishap. This shows that many contributing factors and circumstances can lead to a medication error. Besides interruptions studies show that lighting, heat and noise can also distract health care professionals when administrating medication.

Approximately one-third of the harmful medication errors take place when medication is administered by providers. While most of these errors prove to be harmless, some can have devastating effects. The FDA monitors these medication errors in order to look for ways to prevent these mistakes from occurring. They can also occur after mislabeling, unavailable drug information or miscommunication of drug orders. A medication error is defined as “any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while in the control of a health care professional.” The FDA has enacted programs that will help reduce medication errors such as eliminating the use of ambiguous medical abbreviations. If you have been the victim of a medical error, contact a Chicago medical malpractice attorney. To read more about the FDA medication errors, please click the link.

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