It’s A Secret: How Would You Know If Your Doctor Made A Mistake?

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According to a disturbing new study, hospitals and doctors almost never tell patients about medication mistakes. Dosage errors can have big consequences for patients – without information about what happened, many people may be at more risk of suffering serious harms.

Like many cases of medical malpractice, this is just one more example of the difficulties that face patients after hospitals mistakes. If a patient doesn’t know that something went wrong, he or she has no way of holding caregivers accountable.

This research is based on a survey of 840,000 medication errors, 56,000 of which occurred in intensive care units. For most patients, the good news is that medication errors rarely cause harm. Only two percent of these mistakes hurt a patient. ICU patients face dramatically higher risks, however. Four percent of ICU medication errors resulted in harm.

Regardless of where an error occurs, hospitals only notified patients about the mistakes in two percent of cases. The majority of these cases might never result in a harm – but that does not mean that medication errors are not dangerous. More than 100 of the surveyed mistakes actually led to death.

For more information on medication errors and overdose injuries, visit our medical malpractice website.

Source: Chicago Tribune, “Patients rarely told about medication errors,” Andrew M. Seaman, Jan. 11, 2013

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