In the News: Medication Errors in 50% of Surgeries

Monday, January 9, 2017

A recent study by Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston discovered that medication errors or adverse drug events had occurred during around half of surgeries occurring over 7 months from 2013-2014.

According to a CBS News article, the medication administration errors during surgery reported in the study included:

  • Drug labeling errors
  • Incorrect dosing
  • Drug documentation mistakes
  • Failing to properly respond to changes in a patient’s vital signs

The study looked patient care from pre-op through the completion of surgery (when a patient is transferred to either a recovery room or intensive care). The authors analyzed hospital records of reported drug administrations and drug errors, as well as other errors that had not been specifically recorded as such but could be discerned from patient medical records.

The analysis showed:

  • 227 surgeries in 7 months included 3,675 medication administrations.
  • In 124 of those surgeries (54%), a medication error or ADE was reported.
  • There were 193 total medication errors reported, nearly 80% of which were deemed preventable.

“These numbers are disturbing, but not surprising,” Dr. David Katz of the Yale University Prevention Research Center told CBS News. “What all this means is that human behavior cannot be the only safeguard against error. Rather, we need a multi-layered defense, involving careful humans backing one another up, and automatic systems backing up the humans.”

Read more about the study and reaction to its findings.

Want to learn more about related topics? Check out these RxPerts Academy features on medication errors:

You may also like:

Blog Post

States permitting the use of medical marijuana have found decreases in opioid overdose deaths and use of opioids for chronic pain. A recent report found that between 1999 and 2010, states that permitted medical marijuana use ha...

View Blog Post
Blog Post

Three recent reports examined the issue of leftover prescription opioids and the effectiveness of community drug disposal programs. The first report showed that opioid prescriptions returned for disposal had greater than 60% of th...

View Blog Post
Blog Post

“Big Data” has become a popular term describing the volume, variety, and need to retrieve and process data that helps meet the demands of a business. Healthcare presents one of the most complex types of data of any industr...

View Blog Post

RxPerts Academy

Stay in the Know

Sign up to start receiving notifications via email of our upcoming webinars!

Sign Up