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Health care providers must sweat the small stuff to protect their patients

By Josh Silverman on October 09, 2014


I realize I've said "don't sweat the small stuff" many times to myself, but the reality is the small stuff can be the difference between life and death in a hospital.  Properly administering medication requires sweating the small stuff.  Giving the wrong pill to the wrong patient can be fatal.  Administering the right medication to the right patient can be fatal if it isn't in the correct dose.  Administering it in the wrong manner like injecting it into the muscle instead of an IV can be fatal.

I just settled a near miss case.  My 5 year old client went to a Richmond area hospital for a routine tonsillectomy.  The surgery went well, but a nurse inaccurately recorded her weight in the medical chart resulting in an overdose of narcotics.  Fortunately her parents recognized the problem before more serious harm occurred and she'll be just fine.  She is lucky because she could have suffered permanent liver damage. So when you go to a hospital for medical care or to visit a loved one, recognize that nurses and doctors have a tough job.  If they do not appear to be paying attention to the small stuff like hand washing or verifying wrist bands before administering medication gently remind them.  Not only are you helping them out, you may be saving yourself of a loved one from becoming another victim of medical malpractice in Virginia.

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