Medication Errors Cost Human Lives

What is the price to pay for a mistake on the part of a doctor or surgeon? Sadly, at times the cost may be a human life or a severely paralyzed body. That is why Chicago medical malpractice attorneys advocate on behalf of medical mistake victims to ensure that such tragic errors do not happen again.

A recent study revealed that errors in administering injectable medications affect more than a million hospital patients every year. It costs the national healthcare system greatly, at a rate of $600,000 per hospital on an average. One of the most disturbing facts is that these errors are largely preventable.

For the first time, the study specifically examined injectable medication errors and various factors associated with them, such as the economic impact on the healthcare industry overall, the cost per hospital, and the impact on patients hospitalized. Among the major discoveries is that the medical professional liability, or MPL cost, for inpatient ADEs related to injectable medication ranges from $300 million to $610 million each year. MPL cost for a hospital each year is an average of $72,000. For American healthcare payers, these costs can total more than $5 billion annually.

In response, the US Food and Drug Administration is publishing new draft guidelines intended to minimize medication errors by designing foolproof products built with safety considerations. The FDA claims that hopes to provide biopharmaceutical and pharmaceutical product manufacturers with a few basic principles that govern the way drug products are designed. This should help minimize medication errors. These principles not only deal with the product itself, but also the container or packaging in which the product is transported or contained.

These guidelines are an extension of the FDA Amendments Act (FDAAA) that was originally introduced in 2007. The FDAAA includes a range of provisions that serve to help reduce medication errors in many areas, apart from injectable medications. Among the areas covered are unclear drug labeling and dosage designations, packaging designs that create confusion, and names for various drugs that sound or look similar.

All these are important efforts, since the FDA estimates that medical errors are the eighth leading cause of fatalities in the United States, an alarming statistic. Between 44,000 to 98,000 deaths each year are caused by healthcare professionals in some hospitals making a mistake in administering medication, diagnosis or other areas of treatment. These are not just simple mistakes, but major errors that take human lives.

The FDAAA initiative was the result of a report in 2000 released by the Institute of Medicine. The guidelines currently issued by the FDA are only one in a series of documents planned. It is common practice for pharmaceutical and medical product companies to merely alert users to the the dangers of their product by placing a warning on the label. The FDA insists that the products themselves should be developed to be as free from error as possible, because the lives of innocent patients are at stake.

Malpractice lawyers understand that healthcare professionals need to be adequately trained and have a sense of responsibility and accountability. The should be aware of the fact that they are hold precious lives in their hands.

Wrongful death attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm advocate strongly on behalf of victims of medical negligence and their families. These medical error victims are often faced with large medical expenses and emotional trauma and they deserve to be compensated for a preventable medical mistake.