The Daily

Hospital Medication Errors Kill

More than four years ago, Tennessee nurse RaDonda Vaught typed two letters into a hospital’s computerized medication cabinet, selected the wrong drug from the search results, and gave a patient a fatal dose.

The new Kaiser report on medication errors is here.

In 2017, I posted a three-part series about my experience litigating a deadly hospital overdose. It can be found here (Overdose 1)here (Overdose No. 2)and here (Overdose No. 3).

Hospital medication errors can be system errors or manual errors and occur anywhere from the bedside, to the medication room to the pharmacy department. Deadly errors can also occur anywhere from the ordering process through delivery, storage and stocking. Computers and electronic health records make these problems more exposed.

This Kaiser story focuses on a single but not uncommon nursing error:

Vaught was prosecuted this year in an extremely rare criminal trial for a medical mistake, but the drug mix-up at the center of her case is anything but rare. Computerized cabinets have become nearly ubiquitous in modern health care, and the technological vulnerability that made Vaught’s error possible persists in many U.S. hospitals.

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