Category Archives: Medication Errors

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Settlement reached in medication-error death at St. Charles

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A settlement has been reached between the family of Loretta Macpherson, 65, and St. Charles in Bend after a medication error at the hospital led to the death of the Sisters resident in late 2014, an attorney and hospital officials confirmed Tuesday.

The family’s attorney, Jennifer Coughlin said Tuesday she cannot disclose the amount of the monetary settlement, which was reached last Thursday.

Macpherson died at the hospital in December 2014 after a St. Charles employee put the wrong medication into her IV bag.

Instead of an anti-seizure medication, Macpherson the Sisters resident was given a paralyzing agent, causing irreversible brain damage and cardiac arrest. Two days later she was taken off life support.

Coughlin said Macpherson’s two sons, 28-year-old Mark Macpherson and 33-year-old Pete Macpherson, didn’t want to prolong the process any further and opted for a settlement.

The lawyer added that the settlement brings closure for her sons, but won’t undo the loss they suffered.

Click here to read the full story at KTVZ.com

This was a tragic case where a physician ordered an anti-seizure medicine for his patient, the order was received correctly at the pharmacy, but instead of the prescribed medication, a paralyzing agent was inadvertently placed in the patient’s IV bag.  While the content of the IV bag was wrong, because the labeling of the medication was correct, no one had any way of knowing that the drug was not the one that had been ordered.  It was an error that cost a woman her life.

Without the proper safe-guards in place, pharmacy errors like this one happen in hospitals all over the country every day.  Mistakes such as putting the wrong drug or wrong dose into the patient’s prescription bottle, giving one patient a different patient’s medication, or failing to prevent multiple drugs being prescribed that are contraindicated are just some of the errors that can result in tragedies like this one.

If you believe you or a loved one has suffered an injury as a result of a prescription errormedication mistake or drug defect, please call us directly at 844 RX ERROR (844.793.7767)  or email Aaron Freiwald at ajf@freiwaldlaw.com or Diane Danois at dld@freiwaldlaw.com.

Please join this conversation about prescription errorsmedication mistakes and drug defects, by visiting RxErrors.com and by following me on Twitter @RxErrorLaw.


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Hospitals’ medicine mistakes spike, but more mysteries revealed

Hospitals have switched from handwritten prescriptions and pills in Dixie cups to computerized order entry and robotic drug dispensing, but one thing hasn’t changed over the past two decades: the small but severe risk of injuries and deaths from medication errors.

In a new report, Minnesota hospitals disclosed four deaths and 10 serious injuries related to medication errors in the 12-month period ending last Oct. 6. That’s the highest total in 12 years of “adverse event” reporting in Minnesota, which remains one of only five states to publicly disclose hospital errors as part of a concerted effort to prevent them.

Stethoscope

“One is too many,” said Dr. Beth Thomas, interim chief medical officer for Fairview Health Services, which reported five medication errors at the University of Minnesota Medical Center last year and a sixth at Southdale Hospital in Edina.

Disabling or fatal medication errors have vexed hospital officials statewide, because they can occur at so many different points along the prescription pipeline.

Click here to read full story at Star Tribune


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Troubleshooters Investigate Pharmacy Prescription Errors

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If you fill prescriptions at your local pharmacy, listen up. The NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters are looking into prescription- and pharmacy-related medical mistakes investigated by the state.

Hundreds of thousands of prescription medications are filled at pharmacies all across Connecticut every week, but what happens when there is something wrong with the pills prescribed to you?

There are roughly 3,500 practicing pharmacists statewide and the Troubleshooters have learned less than three dozen pharmacists have reached settlement agreements with the Department of Consumer Protection in recent years.

Prescription errors impact families and pharmacies and West Hartford Attorney Kerry Wisser has worked with a number of affected individuals in his 30-year career.

“This one relates to a newborn baby. Newborn babies often suffer from something called thrush, which is just an infection in their mouth, It’s a yeast type of infection from breast feeding,” Wisser said.

Wisser said his client wasn’t given the prescribed liquid steroid needed to make her baby healthy.

“In this instance, the pharmacy gave the medication to the mother of a liquid Phenobarbital. Phenobarbital is utilized for epilepsy or other seizure disorders, so the baby was given that for, I think a period of seven days, twice a day. The baby was very lethargic; the baby had constipation and other issues like that,” he said.

Fortunately, the child is OK.

Click here to read the full article at NBC Connecticut.


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Medication errors: Cut your risk with these tips

 mayologo

Medication errors are preventable. Your best defense is asking questions and being informed about the medications you take.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Medication errors may sound harmless, but mistakes in prescribing, dispensing and administering medications injure hundreds of thousands of people a year in the United States. Yet most medication errors can be prevented. How can you protect yourself and your family?

Read more at Mayo Clinic’s Healthy Lifestyle Consumer Health


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Medication Errors Seen in Half of All Operations in Study

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(HealthDay News) — In a new study on how often medication errors occur during surgery, researchers report that mistakes were made during almost half of the operations they analyzed.

The mistakes included drug labeling errors, incorrect dosing, drug documentation mistakes, and/or failing to properly treat changes in a patient’s vital signs during surgery.

Overall, a medication error or adverse drug event was documented in 124 of 277 surgeries. Of the 3,675 medication administrations (most patients receive more than one drug during surgery), 193 medication errors and adverse drug events were recorded, the Harvard researchers said. And almost 80 percent of those events were determined to have been preventable. [Emphases added]

Read More at Philly.com


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Womens’ Health Matters: A Journey Revisited

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journeyIn the early years of my legal career, I represented women who had suffered catastrophic injuries resulting from medical errors such as delays in diagnosis of breast cancer and incorrectly-prescribed medications.  I had the privilege of counseling women who were fighting for their lives and supporting their families, while working to positively impact the delivery of healthcare to meet the highest standards of quality deserved by all patients.  The stories told by these women always seemed to share a common thread, namely, they’d felt ignored, dismissed or otherwise forgotten.  It was as if their healthcare issues had taken a backseat or just didn’t matter.  These stories inspired me to become more involved in industries that are working to change healthcare delivery.  I’ve been an advocate for womens’ health for decades lecturing on the use of the personal health record (PHR) to empower the patient, and worked on various national task forces developing PHRs and electronic health records.  Womens’ issues have always been important to me, and as my career developed and life changed, I found myself transitioning into consulting with men and women struggling with issues relating to life before, during and after divorce.  I’ve published books and have written articles on topics addressing these issues including mediation versus litigation; parenting, co-parenting and step parenting;  blended families;  spousal support/alimony and child support;  and those issues that arise in our everyday lives.  I’ve been recognized by my colleagues as an expert in the area of cohabitation and alimony, and have counseled countless individuals and couples through this traumatic transition in their lives.  My life as an attorney, wife and stepmom has been a journey, and is now coming full-circle right back to where I was years ago as an advocate for womens’ health law.

While the availability of consumer-focused tools to manage your personal health and the implementation of the electronic health record to assist your provider has resulted in improvement in the overall quality of healthcare delivery, there is still much work to be done.  Medication errors such as prescribing the wrong medication or over-prescribing the right medication continues to cause serious injury to patients every day.  Just as the work of non-profit organizations to raise awareness about a particular disease brings that issue to the forefront, so must we talk about these issues so that we can also effect change.  Patient awareness and self-advocacy is a critical element to assuring your safety and good health.

STAT:  Preventable medical errors persist as the No. 3 killer in the U.S. – third only to heart disease and cancer – claiming the lives of an estimated 400,000 people each year.

Medical errors come in many different forms such as prescription of the wrong medication because the abbreviations were too similar or administering the wrong dose of a medication because “0.01” was mis-typed or written as “0.10.”  Medical errors happen when medications sound or look so similar that the person dispensing the drug gets it wrong.  Medical errors happen when a patient is already taking a drug that is contraindicated when taken along with a new drug.  Medical errors happen.  But there are steps we can take to mitigate the frequency with which they occur, and paths we can follow to seek justice when they do.

I hope you will follow me on this journey as I explore the concerning health issues affecting families today from medication errors harming our children to nursing home negligence affecting our elderly parents.  I will be reporting weekly on stories and events occurring in our country, and providing helpful tips about how you can be your own best advocate.  I look forward to your comments and shared experiences!

 


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Too Many Pills, To Little Oversight

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Pat McGuckin barely recognized her 39-year-old son. Once a personal trainer and bodybuilder, Michael now was exhausted, his limbs bloated, his mood so volatile that he ripped the phone off her wall.

He told his worried mother that he was in pain from a car accident but that a doctor was helping him.

On Oct. 21, 2007, his younger brother found Michael in bed, his body cold. A few days later, their mother stared at the words on the death certificate, struggling to understand what had killed her son.

Read more at Phillynews.com…


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McCaskill Opens Inquiry into ‘Brain Armor’ and Other Dietary Supplements Targeting Seniors

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Senator seeks information from FDA, 15 major retailers on products marketed to those suffering from Alzheimer’s, dementia, memory loss

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Special Committee on Aging, today began an examination of products, regulations, and retailers in the dietary supplement industry that specifically market to seniors using claims about improving memory and treating dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. One of the supplements, sold by retailer Amazon, was recently pulled from the online retailer’s website after McCaskill alerted the Food and Drug Administration to claims it made about ‘protecting against Alzheimer’s, Dementia, (and) Stroke…’. While that product is no longer sold on Amazon.com, similar products remain on Amazon’s website and the websites of several other national retailers.  Click here to read more.


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F.D.A. Warns Supplement Makers of Stimulant Dangers

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Jetfuel T-300 and Jetfuel Superburn are among the diet supplements that are being pulled from The Vitamin Shoppe stores for containing BMPEACredit Sam Hodgson for The New York Times
The Food and Drug Administration sent letters to the makers of eight dietary supplements on Thursday warning them that their products contain a synthetic, amphetaminelike stimulant that medical experts say is potentially dangerous. The agency’s actions came after weeks of pressure from at least three United States senators and a team of researchers led by an expert at Harvard Medical School, all of whom urged the F.D.A. to take steps to remove the stimulant — known as BMPEA — from the market.

Click here to read the full article at The New York Times.


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Wrong drug put in IV bag led to fatal Bend hospital error

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St. Charles pharmacy worker in tragic sequence of events

A St. Charles Bend pharmacy worker put the wrong medication in an IV bag, leading to the fatal error that killed a Sisters woman last week, hospital officials said Monday in an update on the ongoing investigation.

“It is a human error,” Robert Gomes, CEO at St. Charles Bend and Redmond, told reporters at a news conference.

Macpherson’s physician ordered an anti-seizure medicine, officials said, and the order was received correctly at the pharmacy.

But for as-yet unknown reasons, a worker at the pharmacy then put a paralyzing agent in the IV bag, instead of the prescribed anti-anxiety medicine. Yet the label on the bag indicated it contained the anti-anxiety medication.

“Because the label on the bag was that for the drug that had been ordered, the staff (at the ER) had no way of knowing the drug that was actually in the bag was not the one that was ordered,” said Dr. Michel Boileau, chief clinical officer at St. Charles  Bend.

After Loretta Macpherson, 65, of Sisters received the medication, a fire alarm went off. A staff member closed the sliding doors of Macpherson’s room to protect her from fire hazards.

St. Charles Bend and Redmond Chief Nursing Officer Karen Reed said it took officials 20 minutes to notice the medication error.

Click here to read the full story at KTVZ.com

This was a tragic case where a physician ordered an anti-seizure medicine for his patient, the order was received correctly at the pharmacy, but instead of the prescribed medication, a paralyzing agent was inadvertently placed in the patient’s IV bag.  While the content of the IV bag was wrong, because the labeling of the medication was correct, no one had any way of knowing that the drug was not the one that had been ordered.  It was an error that cost a woman her life.

Without the proper safe-guards in place, pharmacy errors like this one happen in hospitals all over the country every day.  Mistakes such as putting the wrong drug or wrong dose into the patient’s prescription bottle, giving one patient a different patient’s medication, or failing to prevent multiple drugs being prescribed that are contraindicated are just some of the errors that can result in tragedies like this one.

If you believe you or a loved one has suffered an injury as a result of a prescription errormedication mistake or drug defect, please call us directly at 844 RX ERROR (844.793.7767)  or email Aaron Freiwald at ajf@freiwaldlaw.com or Diane Danois at dld@freiwaldlaw.com.

Please join this conversation about prescription errorsmedication mistakes and drug defects, by visiting RxErrors.com and by following me on Twitter @RxErrorLaw.


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