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Drug errors can be common in surgery

For many Pittsburgh area residents, surgery is inevitable. Surgeries are necessary for life-threatening ailments and other circumstances. Most surgeries go as planned but surgical errors and medication errors during surgery can be common.

Medication errors during surgery are relatively common. It is estimated that almost half of all surgeries have a medication error or unintended side effects caused by the drugs. Of those who had medication errors a third caused injury to the patient. Unlike other areas of the hospital where medication is double checked before it is administered to a patient surgery rooms don't have the same safeguards in place. There usually isn't enough time to go through the same safeguards as patient conditions change rapidly. Most patients don't even know they have been the victim of a medication error because they're asleep during the procedure and there may not be a lasting consequence. Many errors involve drugs being labeled incorrectly and some occurred when there were unexpected medication side effects caused by an allergy.

When a patient suffers from a medication error it is unexpected and can have serious consequences. Families who believe their loved one was injured during surgery may want to speak with a legal professional skilled in medical malpractice. An attorney can review medical records, consult with medical experts and get answers for family members that want to know what happened. Compensation may be available for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and other damages.

Medication errors during surgery are a big deal. Medical professionals who make these errors should be held accountable so that they don't harm anyone else.

Source: Boston Globe, "Drug errors are common in surgery, MGH-led study says," John Tozzi, Oct. 26, 2015

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