Saturday, March 14, 2009

Invisible Disease - Medication errors

Just as we had been discussing the invisible diseases in hospitals, here is a recent report (hot off the press!) of an Austrian study on medication errors across 113 intensive care units in 27 countries. Participants were 1328 adult patients in ICUs. This was an observational, prospective, 24 hour cross sectional study with self reporting by staff.

The results?

"861 errors affecting 441 patients were reported: 74.5 (95% confidence interval 69.5 to 79.4) events per 100 patient days. Three quarters of the errors were classified as errors of omission. Twelve patients (0.9% of the study population) experienced permanent harm or died because of medication errors at the administration stage." (Cited from the original paper BMJ 2000 320: 745-749)

Their conclusions?

"Parenteral medication errors at the administration stage are common and a serious safety problem in intensive care units. With the increasing complexity of care in critically ill patients, organizational factors such as error reporting systems and routine checks can reduce the risk for such errors."

We will not likely ever, to find out what the situation is in Singapore. It's an invisible disease. No one wants to know. Neither the hospitals nor the MOH wants to find out.

But the public has a right to know.

1 comment:

arron said...
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