More than 7,000 people are killed every year in medication errors in hospitals. Many hospitals are struggling to minimize the risk of drug dosage, administration, and other errors in their facilities. One hospital, however, has invested heavily in increasing the number of pharmacists in its emergency department, with successful results.
At the Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Dallas, all drugs that are administered in the emergency department first go through a pharmacist before they go to the patient. The pharmacist reviews the medication to make sure that the medication is the right one for the patient and that the dose administered is also correct. It is an expensive investment, but according to Children’s Medical Center, the results have been very encouraging.
At the facility, there are currently 10 full-time emergency pharmacists. That is a higher number than any other hospital in the country. They are on call 24-hours a day. However, the hospital believes that it’s worth the investment because of the reduction in the number of medication errors.
In a typical emergency room, there are typically very few resources to catch medication errors when they occur. In the average United States Emergency Department you are lucky to find specialists, doctors and nurses to treat you on time, let alone enough pharmacists to monitor each medication. However, at larger hospitals, such investments could have very good results. The Children’s Medical Center experiment is an example in point.
The hospital also found that having the extra pharmacists was very beneficial and worth the investment, because children are approximately 3-times more likely to suffer a medication error, compared to adults.
Obviously, this is not a strategy that can be applied to every hospital. Pharmacists are expensive, and smaller ERs may not have the resources or the patient census to justify the cost of extra pharmacists on payroll. However, larger ERs and especially those like Children’s Medical Center, may benefit from the investment of an additional pharmacists.
If you have suffered injuries as a result of medical negligence, speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney at our firm. The attorneys at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson and Kennedy, LLP are waiting to take your call.