The electronic monitoring systems hospitals in North Carolina and around the country use to detect mistakes when doctors prescribe medication for patients may not be doing their job as well as people in the health care field might have originally thought. Facilities are having problems with their computerized prescription drug systems that could be failing to detect doctor error in prescribing harmful dosages or drug combinations.
A report claims that hospital electronic medication systems failed to detect 40 percent of the prescribing mistakes attributable to doctor error or errors at other stages of the medication dispensing system. Statistics show that 5 percent of hospital patients are harmed in some manner as a result of medication mistakes. It is estimated that half of those mistakes could be avoided if hospitals and medical facilities have a system in place to detect a mistake before it can cause a worsened medical condition or become a fatal medical error.
People familiar with the health care field are quick to point out that many of the medication mistakes are not life threatening and do not cause a worsened medical condition. Experts suggest that computer-based systems to detect doctor or pharmacy error should be just one component of a protocol hospitals have in place to flag mistakes before they can cause harm. Family members can play a role in such a system by letting health care professionals know if they see what might be a change in the drugs being given to a loved one.
A patient whose condition worsens as a result of a medication error might be entitled to compensation because of medical professional malpractice. Having an attorney review the patient’s hospital records might be the first step in determining whether a lawsuit should be filed.