Alarms, Robotic Surgeries Feature in 2014 Top Medical Hazards

iv%20bag.jpgSome of the biggest medical hazards in 2014 involve alarm fatigue, robotic surgery complications, and medication errors from infusion pumps. According to the Emergency Care Research Institute, which has just released its list of the top 10 medical tech hazards for 2014, the biggest hazard we need to look out for this year is alarm fatigue.

The list includes a number of serious medical technology hazards that hospitals need to look out for the coming year. Some hazards featured on the list with alarming regularity every year, while other problems are fairly new; although the Institute believes that these problems have the potential to become serious hazards in the coming year. The good news is that all of these risks are entirely preventable.

Topping the list in 2014 is an alarm fatigue. This problem has already received a fair amount of attention in this blog. Alarm fatigue is a serious risk to patient care and refers to the kind of distractions that plague nurses who are exposed to dozens of medical alarms drinking continuously throughout their working day. At some point in time, nurses become desensitize to the frequent nature of these alarms and choose to simply ignore them, or worse, may unintentionally miss out on important alarms. This is a serious patient safety risk, and the only feasible solution is to reduce the number of medical alarms by eliminating those that may not be completely necessary.

Infusion pumps which are used to deliver medications and fluids directly into the bloodstream may become a series of patient safety hazards when these are not used properly, or when proper safeguards are not used. There is a serious risk that a patient be administered the wrong dose or wrong medication when staff is not properly trained to use these devices.

Another hazard that often slips under the radar is the risk to pediatric patients from unnecessary CT scans. There is a high risk of cancer that is associated with such scans, and when pediatric patients are exposed to such imaging technology their vulnerable bodies may be at a higher risk for radiation-related hazards. The Institute recommends using other diagnostic options that are safe and avoiding unnecessary repeat scanning whenever possible.

There were several other hazards mentioned by the Emergency Care Research Institute including:
* data integrity failures in electronic health records and other health technology systems * risk of occupational exposure to radiation in hybrid operating rooms * inadequate sterilization of medical instruments and devices * neglect of change management while making modifications to a networked system or device * health hazards to pediatric patients from the use of adult technologies during treatment or diagnosis * robotic surgery complications due to insufficient training of personnel and
* retained medical devices and fragments during surgery.

The risks emanating from these hazards are preventable, and the Institute’s compilation does offer measures that hospitals can implement to reduce these risks.

The Indiana medical malpractice lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson Kennedy LLP represent victims of medical negligence across Indiana.