Surgical errors, including leaving of items inside of the body or operations on the wrong body part, occur dozens of times every week in hospitals. It has been conservatively estimated that 80,000 such incidents have occurred during the last 20 years.
Most medication errors occur during administration of the drugs. Many medications are being administered by IV, and since many are administered by using a number of doses and varying timings, the chance that a medication error could occur is great.
A recurrent problem has occurred in a Pennsylvania hospital resulting in patients being administered too much medication. Such a medication error led to two patients receiving approximately ten times more medication than was prescribed.
A nationally renown treatment center is being sued for the death of a 20-year-old patient while he was under treatment for bulimia and alcoholism. When complications arose in his treatment, the facility transferred him to another center, where he suffered from cardiac arrest and died.
To put things in perspective, approximately 100,000 deaths occur every year due to medical mistakes. Such errors occur in Pennsylvania and across the country. What we've discovered is that even the best trained of surgeons can have lapses and make surgical errors. For example, one talented surgeon operated on the wrong side of the brain of a patient because he looked at a CAT scan that was hung backwards.
In Pennsylvania a doctor does not require a license to dispense of medication. Yet it is a great concern that doctors are provided with too much authority to directly provide medicine to patients without any safeguards to prevent a medication error.
A pharmacy provided children with breast cancer medication rather than fluoride pills. Though the type of medication probably will not lead to adverse effects from taking of the incorrect medication, nevertheless this was a medication error that should never have occurred. Unfortunately, this type of error has occurred in Pennsylvania as well.