Medical Errors Still A Problem, Speakers at Richmond Conference Say

By Josh Silverman on June 01, 2010

After a study found that 100,000 patients die each year due to medical malpractice, a coalition of health-care organizations created Virginians Improving Patient Care and Safety.  They met recently to discuss the progress made in the past ten years.  According to a Richmond Times Dispatch article, the speakers acknowledge that medical errors are still a serious problem.  For instance only 44% of Virginia hospitals have a hand hygiene program to reduce the spread of infections.  That is below the national average of 59%.  It is inexplicable why it isn't 100%.

Likewise only 10% of hospitals in a survey are using computerized systems for ordering medications and tests.  Computerized systems have been shown to prevent most medication errors. 

One of the speakers at the conference was Sorrel King whose 18 month daughter Josie died due to a medication error when a nurse gave her a medication dosage that had been verbally canceled that morning.  If the dosage change had been made electronically, the nurse would have been alerted to the change and in all likelihood Josie would be alive today.  To learn more about Josie King and her family's efforts to improve patient care, visit the Josie King Foundation website.

Unfortunately, many other patients have suffered serious injuries or have died due to medication errors.  Mistakes include giving medications to the wrong patient, giving medications at an improper dosage, failing monitor the effects of a medication, and giving a medication in the wrong manner.

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