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A report produced by PubMed Central states that 1.7 errors per day are experienced by patients in intensive care units (ICU). At least one life-threatening error occurs at some point during virtually every ICU stay. 78% of the serious medical errors are in medications.
1.7 errors per day times 78% equals the likelihood of experiencing a medication error while in an ICU of well over 100% per day. That means the odds are that you will receive the wrong medication or the wrong amount of a medication at least once every single day of an ICU stay.
Another recent study addresses the number of ADEs (adverse drug events). A new method of identifying ADEs in hospital pediatrics was tested. Rather than assuming that self-reporting is accurate, the new method relies on triggers, events that are indicative of a bad drug reaction, such as the use of drug antidotes and results from lab tests.
The results were alarming. They found that about 15% of hospitalized children are harmed by ADEs. This is in sharp contrast to the results of self-reporting. The study indicates that only 4% of all adverse drug events are reported.
The promise every doctor makes is, “Do no harm.” But doctors and hospitals do make mistakes. And the November 30 shocking report from the Institute of Medicine showed medical mistakes are a common and potentially life-threatening risk. If medical mistakes counted among the leading causes of death in America, they would be eighth.
Surgical gaffes like amputating the wrong foot or a deadly chemotherapy overdose make headlines. But patients may never hear of the more subtle errors, like a delay in diagnosis or testing that costs precious time to fight off disease. Medical mistakes costing lives. Medical mistakes are a stunningly huge problem, says a new report by the Institute of Medicine. It quoted studies estimating that at least 44,000 and perhaps as many as 98,000 hospitalized Americans die every year from errors. To put that into sharper and more alarming perspective, even the lower figure of 44,000 deaths exceeds the number of people who die each year either on the highways, of breast cancer or of AIDS.