Study warns patients rarely told about medication errors
ReutersNEW YORK--Patients and their families are rarely told when hospitals make mistakes with their medicines, according to a new study.
January 13, 2013, 12:02 am TWN
Most medication mistakes did not harm patients, the researchers found, but those that did were more likely to happen in intensive care units (ICUs). And ICU patients and families were less likely to be told about errors than patients in other hospital units.
“For the most part, our findings were in keeping with what the existing literature tells us about the where and how of medication errors in a hospital,” wrote Dr. Asad Latif, the study's lead author, in an email to Reuters Health.
“The most surprising finding was what we do about them, at least in the immediate time around when they occur,” added Latif, from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.
Using a database of about 840,000 voluntarily reported medication errors from 537 U.S. hospitals between 1999 and 2005, the researchers found that ICUs accounted for about 56,000, or 6.6 percent, of the errors. The rest happened in non-ICU units of the hospital.