Report cites risk for surgical patients

March 19, 2007

Patients face an increased risk of harmful medication errors throughout the surgery process because of a lack of comprehensive oversight of medications.

A report released by USP's MEDMARX database revealed that perioperative patients face an increased risk of harmful medication errors throughout the surgery process because of a lack of comprehensive oversight of medications. The report studied medication errors in the perioperative setting—including outpatient surgery, the preoperative holding area, the operating room, and the postanesthesia care unit. The report examined more than 11,000 medication errors and found that 5% of them resulted in harm, including four deaths. This percentage of harm is more than three times higher than the percentage of harm among all MEDMARX records. Children are at even higher risk, with nearly 12% of pediatric medication errors resulting in harm. Diane Cousins, R.Ph., VP of USP's Healthcare Quality and Information department and one of the authors of the report, said: "The fragmented system creates a high risk for harmful medication errors."

 

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