Before the people of Montana schedule any type of surgery or medical procedure, they may want to be aware of some startling numbers when it comes to medical errors. According to Forbes, a recent study conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital showed that patients were given the wrong medication or dosage of medication in almost half of surgeries performed at the hospital.
One interesting part of the study is the fact that researchers looked at the time period right before, during and after a surgical procedure to see where any errors occurred. Results showed that the most common mistakes were incorrect dosage, labeling mistakes, documentation errors and neglecting to give a patient a medication when their vital signs showed they needed it.
Some surgeries can take hours to complete and require multiple administrations of medicine. In the study, it was determined that in 80 percent of the procedures, the error could easily have been prevented. Of the cases studied, medication errors and adverse drug effects were considered serious in 64 percent of cases, significant in 33 percent of cases and life-threatening in 2 percent of cases.
Statistics show that up to 400,000 people are killed each year because of hospital-acquired infections, medication errors or preventable medical errors. Because of this high rate, medical errors are America’s third leading cause of death behind cancer and heart disease. While the level of mistakes is often expected by patients and doctors, the reality is that the health care industry should be held to the same level of accountability as a business in any other sector, and mistakes should be accounted for.