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Medication error a case of medical malpractice?

All of a sudden, one has trouble breathing. If the normal inhaler treatment doesn't seem to work, the next step is probably a visit to the emergency room of a local Massachusetts hospital. Here, the individual expects to receive treatment to aid in the breathing process. When this doesn't happen, it could be a case of medical malpractice.

In September 2016, an asthma patient visited the emergency room due to breathing difficulties. Rather than administering the proper medication into the patient's muscle, the nurse placed it in the IV. This caused the patient's condition to worsen and ultimately require treatment in the intensive care unit.

The hospital reported the medication error to the proper authorities and began an investigation into the incident. They concluded that the error was the result of miscommunication. In order to correct the problem in the future, they have added a nurse observer on an as-needed basis. Additionally, all emergency room personnel have received additional training regarding verbal orders.

Communication is critical in an emergency room setting. The nurse must understand and follow the orders issued by the attending physician. If this doesn't happen, the patient could suffer as in the above instance.

Medical malpractice is not common in Massachusetts emergency rooms. However, it can happen. If a patient suffers as the result of a medication error, the result can be costly both in terms of health and finances. In this case, one will want to review the available legal options to aid in the recovery process.

Source: beckershospitalreview.com, "CMS put Allina hospital in 'immediate jeopardy' for drug error during nurses' strike", Heather Punke, Oct. 24, 2016

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