A new shocking statistic has revealed that mistakes are happening when giving out medication before, during and after operations in half of all surgeries at one of the top medical facilities in the country.
The guilty institution? Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).
And since MGH is a top-rated medical facility, Karen C. Nanji of the MGH Department of Anaesthesia, Critical Care, and Pain Medicine feels that it’s likely happening elsewhere, too.
“Given that Mass. General is a national leader in patient safety and ha(s) already implemented approaches to improve safety in the operating room… medication error rates are probably at least as high at many other hospitals,” Nanji is quoted as saying in an article in the Harvard Gazette.
Nanji is also an assistant professor of anaesthesia at Harvard Medical School (HMS), and lead author of the report.
She commented that while drug orders on inpatient floors are routinely checked several times by providers before they reach a patient, the routine in an operating room is different. A patient’s condition can change very rapidly in the operating room. This fast change doesn’t allow time for double- and triple-checking medications during surgery, resulting in errors.
Admittedly, according to the Harvard Gazette, “errors” were defined a bit loosely in the study. They were defined as any kind of mistake in the process of ordering or administering a drug or an adverse drug event.“Adverse drug events” included harm being caused to a patient in connection with taking medication in the operating room, whether or not it was caused by an error.
The significant report is being published online to coincide with a presentation that will be given at the Anesthesiology 2015 annual meeting in San Diego, Calif., Oct. 24-28. Hopefully it may lead to new protocols that can provide for safer patient care.