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Shocking statistics about medication mistakes during surgery

Lana Bandoim's picture

A new study reveals shocking statistics about the frequency of medication mistakes during surgeries. Researchers found that half of the surgeries had some type of drug error or adverse drug event. This means that one out of every two surgeries had a mistake that affected the patient. The researchers focused on Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), but they are concerned that their findings are common in other hospitals and clinics.


The researchers focused on medications instead of other types of surgical errors that could occur. They analyzed more than 200 different surgeries and found that half of them had some type of medication mistake. The study, published in Anesthesiology, reveals that errors occurred before, during and after surgery. Researchers noted that 33.3 percent of the errors had a negative impact on the patient’s health. They considered 64.7 percent to be serious errors and mentioned that 33.3 were significant errors.

Researchers point out that previous studies often relied on self-reported data from hospitals. This usually created lower rates of errors being reported. Although their study only focused on one hospital, they believe it is representative of other hospitals around the country. Karen Nanji, who is one of the researchers involved in the study, mentions that there may be several reasons for the high rate of errors they noticed. Karen Nanji told Fox News that it may be due to the lack of time to double-check patient information during surgery.

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Some of the mistakes that the researchers found were wrong dosages, documentation problems and label issues. In addition, they found that some of the patients did not receive the necessary medication during surgery as their vitals changed. Although one out of every two surgeries having mistakes is a very high percentage, researchers caution that patients should not be afraid to have necessary medical procedures. They point out that the mistakes were not fatal, and all of the patients survived surgery.

Researchers hope that the new study will help hospitals find a way to reduce the number of errors. Massachusetts General Hospital has added several features to reduce the number of mistakes including electronic documentation and bar-coded syringe labeling systems. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) keeps track of medication errors and tries to suggest different strategies to reduce them. The strategies include consistent bar code label rules, elimination of drug name confusion, better drug labeling and better error tracking.

The Food and Drug Administration also has suggestions for how consumers can protect themselves. It recommends education about potential errors and discussions with medical staff before procedures. It is important to discuss all of the medications and supplements you take with your doctor because the risk of interactions is high. In addition, the FDA notes that technology has helped reduce errors in some cases because it makes it easier to track patient information. It is crucial that you discuss your medication concerns before surgery.