July 1, 2013 |
Rationing medical care is denounced as immoral in the United States, yet it goes on daily in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, ambulances, and pharmacies. Since 2006, this country has had worsening shortages of sterile generic injectables - drugs given by shots or intravenously. Currently, more than 300 medicines crucial to treating cancer, infections, cardiac arrest, premature infants, pain, and more are in short supply. The reasons for this predicament are complex, and the fixes, elusive.
November 30, 2011 |
Emily Jerry was just 2 years old when she died from a medication error made by a pharmacy technician in a Cleveland hospital. She had undergone surgeries and four rounds of chemotherapy to treat what doctors said was a highly curable malignant tumor at the base of her spine. Emily's past treatments had been so successful that her last MRI showed the tumor had miraculously disappeared, her parents say. This last treatment on her second birthday was just to be sure that no traces of cancer were left inside her. Tragically, the technician mixed her final dose of chemotherapy improperly, in a saline solution that was 23 times more concentrated than it should have been.
April 13, 2011 |
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration announced a broad new initiative Tuesday to reduce medical errors, partnering with private insurers, business leaders, hospitals, and patient advocates to tackle a problem that kills thousands of Americans every year. The campaign, funded by the health-care overhaul the president signed last year, aims to cut the number of harmful preventable conditions such as infections that patients acquire in the hospital by 40 percent over the next three years.
July 19, 2009 |
James Armstrong had no way to know that his prostate-cancer treatment had gone dangerously awry as he recovered from the brief procedure at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center in August 2007. Doctors for the Vietnam War veteran from West Philadelphia, however, should have known, federal investigators concluded. The dozens of tiny radioactive seeds they had implanted in Armstrong's prostate gland were delivering only about a quarter of the radiation called for in his treatment plan - too little by established standards to wipe out his cancer.
July 3, 2008
The article on medication bar-coding gives the impression that new technologies make no difference in reducing hospital errors ("Bar codes no cure for drug errors," July 1). This has not been our experience. In 2004, we were among the first health systems to institute a medication administration bar-coding system. Since then, Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center has reduced the number of reported medication errors by almost 40 percent. Additionally, more than 7,000 medication errors have been prevented across our system by notifying the nurse before the wrong medication was given.
July 1, 2008 |
Bar codes, those omnipresent catalogers of everything from cereal to CDs, were long touted as the perfect solution to medication mistakes in hospitals. But bar codes make new problems and aren't the panacea that safety advocates expected, a research team lead by Ross Koppel of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine has concluded. In a first-of-its-kind study, Koppel and colleagues from the University of Wisconsin and the Main Line Health System spent several years observing the use of bar-code technology in five hospitals.
August 30, 2007 |
Last year, nine patients got infusions of the wrong type of blood at hospitals around the region, errors that typically added thousands of dollars in treatment charges paid by Medicare. Hospitals will soon have to bear much of the cost of fixing their own mistakes. Medicare issued rules this month that will end payments for extra care resulting from certain medical mistakes starting Oct. 1, 2008. The new rules prohibit passing these charges on to patients, so hospitals will end up absorbing the costs - and, Medicare hopes, working harder to prevent mistakes.
July 6, 2007
The first-ever survey of surgical mix-ups in Pennsylvania shows that most patients are at little risk of becoming victims. That's not to say there is no cause for concern: Commercial flights are safe, for the most part. But no one wants to be in that one airplane - or operating room - where things fall apart. Here's the unsettling reality: A regular flow of reports on near-misses and wrong-site surgeries comes into the state's Patient Safety Authority, which gathered and reported the error data last week.
June 21, 2006 |
Thousands of Triaminic Vapor Patches, used to treat children with coughs and colds, are being voluntarily recalled after several bad reactions, including a seizure. The over-the-counter cough suppressant works through inhaled vapors to loosen up congestion. More than 50 million patches have been sold in the United States since they first came on the market in 2000, said Julie Masow, a Novartis Consumer Health spokeswoman. There have been eight adverse events with the patch, all involving ingestion, Masow said.
September 20, 2005 |
Color matters in medical errors. Names do, too. And label look-alikes - they're one of the biggest problems of all. As a pharmacy student at Temple University almost 40 years ago, Michael Cohen noticed that small problems often led to grave mistakes. Today, those lifesaving observations will be rewarded with a life-altering prize. Cohen, president of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, an independent watchdog group investigating medication errors, is receiving a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant.