Patients in hospitals put their trust in the institution and individuals providing their care. When this trust is abused problems can arise. While there are many things that need to be monitored while someone is receiving treatment in a hospital, certainly one of the most important is the medications that a person is taking. Taking too much of a medication, or the wrong one, could have serious consequences including illness, permanent disability and, in the worst cases, death.
Recently a hospital in Pittsburgh responded to the switching of certain pain medications in its pharmacy. It fired the individual when it learned about the switch. The worker was replacing Oxycodone with other medications that are not narcotics. According to the hospital, Jefferson Regional Medical Center, in the course of the four months, between June and September, over 300 patients could have been affected by the problem.
It does not appear that anyone was injured by the change in medications. Considering how many ways the mix-up could negatively impact a patient this is very fortunate. Some problems that could occur due to replacing drugs include:
- Drug interaction issues
- Allergic reactions to the drug administered
- Problems with dosages
When injuries do occur to a patient, as a result of a problem with medications, a medical malpractice lawsuit may be commenced. When the impact is permanent or fatal, financial damages can be very helpful. They may be used not only for medical bills but also to cover lost wages or to compensate for the death of an individual.
Source: WFMJ, "W. Pa. hospital fires tech after meds are switched," Nov. 14, 2012