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Hospital negligence is leading cause of medication errors

While medication errors may not sound very serious, mistakes in prescribing, dispensing or administering medications can result in serious, even life-threatening injuries for Maryland residents. In fact, according to the Mayo Clinic more than one million patients are injured every year due to medication errors. Furthermore, a new study from the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority recently found that hospital negligence may be a leading cause.

Maryland readers may have heard about a Connecticut patient who recently received a $1.65 million jury award following a medical malpractice case involving a medication error. The patient who had gone to the hospital for hip replacement surgery on February 12, 2009, was prescribed a dangerous dosage of blood-thinning medication that resulted in a life-threatening hematoma, blood that masses in the body's tissue.

After doctors realized what had happened, the patient was rushed back into surgery. While surgeons were successful in stopping the bleeding, damage had already taken place. According to the complaint, the man suffered permanent damage to his left foot. The hematoma reportedly compressed the man's left sciatic nerve, a nerve that exits the spine and travels down the leg to the foot. The man now walks with a brace.

According to the Pennsylvania study, administrative errors are responsible for 43 percent of all medication errors in the U.S. While administrative errors can happen in many ways, common errors include failures in supervision, miscommunication, ignoring proper procedures and other forms of hospital negligence. If a Maryland-area patient is injured in due to hospital negligence, the patient may be entitled to significant financial damages.

Source: Connecticut Law Tribune, "Alleged Medication Error Leads To $1.65 Million Award," Christian Nolan, Aug. 2, 2013

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