Medical errors occur in nearly 50% of surgeries: 4 key notes

A new study indicates medical errors are a much larger problem than previous studies implied, with nearly 50 percent of surgeries encountering a medical error or unintended drug side effect, according to Albany Daily Star.

Boston-based Massachusetts General Hospital researchers examined 277 procedures at the hospital where they observed a high prevalence of medical errors. The figure is higher than previous studies because those studies relied of self-reported medical errors.

Here are four key notes:

1. The most commonly observed mistakes entailed providers administering incorrect dosages.

2. Of the adverse drug events researchers noted that might have led to patient harm, 30 percent were deemed significant and 69 percent were considered serious.

3. Less than 2 percent of adverse drug events were deemed life-threatening.

4. Researchers noted procedures surpassing six hours had a greater chance of subsequent issues.

"We definitely have room for improvement in preventing perioperative medication errors, and now that we understand the types of errors that are being made and their frequencies, we can begin to develop targeted strategies to prevent them," the researchers concluded.

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