Common Medication Errors in Hospitals

The American Nurses Association says that medication errors cause more than 7,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. These types of medical errors often increase the duration of a hospital stay and the amount of patient expenses, with the average error costing anywhere from $2,000 to nearly $9,000.

If your medical situation was worsened by hospital staff whose mistakes led to a negative reaction to a medication, or if a loved one lost their life due to a medication overdose, underdose, misidentification, or failure to administer, a medical malpractice attorney can help you determine your options for pursuing compensation.

Some of the most frequent medicine-related errors in healthcare facilities include:


According to the Institute for Safe Medical Practices, the majority of insulin mistakes can be attributed to human errors related to dosage amount and hyperkalemia (above normal serum or plasma potassium level) treatment. Most errors stem from not knowing the difference between an insulin syringe and other types of syringes, or from not recognizing the need to treat hyperkalemia quickly.


These errors are typically medication administration mistakes that include improper dosage calculation and infusion rates. In a five-year study, there were nearly 60,000 anticoagulant errors reported to the U.S. Pharmacopeia MEDMARX registry, with 60 percent of these errors directly affecting patients and 3 percent causing illness or death.


One study found that 47 percent of adverse opioid reactions in hospitals come from wrong dosage amounts, 29 percent from incorrect patient monitoring, and 11 percent from factors such as drug interaction, overdosing, and other negative reactions. Even correct opioid dosages can lead to problems, so mistakes can be disastrous.


Errors in sedation medication given as part of a medical procedure or standard hospitalization can cause over-sedation, hypotension, and delirium, and they can also increase the risk of falling. One state investigation found that half of all patients who fell and were injured during their hospital stay were prescribed one or more medicines that elevated the likelihood of a fall, including sedatives and opioids.

Contact a Wheaton, IL Medical Negligence Lawyer

At Walsh, Knippen & Cetina, Chartered Attorneys at Law, we do not file frivolous lawsuits against medical facilities. We only accept cases from people who were seriously harmed by medication errors or other forms of medical negligence. Once our attorneys take your case, we will work with medical experts who carefully assess the evidence and provide testimony to support your claim in court. Call a DuPage County medical malpractice attorney at 630-462-1980 for a free consultation.


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