News Oklahoma recently discussed a severe medical care problem that has not received as much attention as it deserves-the shortage of critical medications at many hospitals.
Unknown to most of the public, many hospital are suffering through the worst shortage of critical drugs in many years. The consequences of the shortage are seen most prominently in operating rooms across the country. Specifically, medical professionals are finding that drugs like propofol, forms of epinephrine, and succinylcholine are all in short supply. Each of those drugs is crucial for surgical procedures. Pharmacists, anesthesiologists, and even the U.S. Food and Drug Administration admit that the problem is severe and in dire need of correction. The consequences are simply too high to downplay.
For example, the medication shortage leads to patients waking up in the middle of operations and in several cases, directly to patient deaths. The specialized form of epinephrine is especially necessary in cases of cardiac arrest. When a patient suffers the heart problem, it is essentially for medical professionals to have immediate access to the drug in an effort to restart the patient’s heart. However, some have already admitted that patients have died because of the lack of quick usage of the drug.
A recent survey conducted by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices indicate that more than one third of the 1,800 health professionals who responded admitted that the shortage has led to medical errors that have harmed patients. In total about 1,000 medical mistakes were reported as a result of the unavailable of about 50 different drugs.
Our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Levin & Perconti are appalled at the loss of life and increased patient suffering caused by lack of proper medication. When patients arrive at a hospitals for emergency medical care, without question they should expect the facility to have access to the life saving drugs and equipment necessary for their survival. Failure in that regard is an egregious medical mistake that cannot be tolerated.