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Medication error reporting and anesthesiologists

New York residents might be surprised to learn that medication errors are often underreported by anesthesia providers. Recent findings may indicate a hesitancy to report the errors due to punitive actions, even though less than 10 percent of errors result in temporary harm to a patient. According to an anesthesiology educator at the University of Michigan Medical School, there are 44,000 to 98,000 annual patient fatalities caused by preventable medication errors.

Researchers obtained data that was gathered from July 2006 to November 2015 by the Multicenter Perioperative Outcomes Group and from quality assurance data that was self-reported by institutions. Each anesthetic record, electronic health record and error report was manually evaluated to determine resource utilization, adverse outcome and epidemiological information. The National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Preventions descriptions were the basis for characterizing the nature and severity of the errors that occurred.

The data showed that out of 434,554 total cases, 238 medication errors were self-reported. This resulted in an incidence of 5.5 self-reported medication errors for every 10,000 cases. Opioids and antibiotics were the drug classes that were most involved in the medication errors. Intravenous boluses accounted for half of the reported errors.

Temporary harm was the result from 9.7 percent of the errors. The most adverse outcomes noted were mechanical ventilation in the PACU and unplanned admission or escalation of care.

Individuals who are victims of medical malpractice may want to speak with a personal injury attorney. Lawyers may work to hold negligent parties financially responsible for failures to diagnose, wrong-site surgeries or anesthesia errors.

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