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Drug error a case of hospital negligence?

The emergency room in almost any New Jersey hospital is typically a busy place. Patients and staff are coming and going, patients are being seen, and medical orders are being given. While this is an extremely busy environment that can often give the appearance of confusion, it is essential that there be no confusion on the part of the nursing staff when it comes to patient care. If confusion enters the picture and an error occurs, the hospital could be faced with a charge of hospital negligence.

An asthma attack can be a life threatening condition if not treated properly. Many asthmatic patients will carry an inhaler with them; however, this does not always resolve the problem. At times, emergency medical care is required. This situation recently occurred, and the patient sought assistance in the local emergency room.

Unfortunately, the regular nursing staff was not on duty, and a replacement nurse was the one who worked with the patient. Rather than administering the required medication into the patient's muscle, the nurse placed it in an IV. This action caused the patient's condition to worsen, requiring intensive care treatment for the following three days.

An investigation into the situation found that there had been a breakdown in communication. Apparently, the replacement nurse misunderstood the doctor's verbal orders. In an effort to correct the situation, the hospital has added a nurse observer and has instituted a plan for emergency staff retraining.

These new measures will hopefully prevent a similar situation from occurring. However, the fact remains that one individual suffered medically, and most likely financially, as a result of this error. If a New Jersey patient is in a similar situation in which hospital negligence is possible, he or she will want to review available legal options to remedy the situation.

Source: beckershospitalreview.com, "CMS put Allina hospital in 'immediate jeopardy' for drug error during nurses' strike", Heather Punke, Oct. 24, 2016

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Alan D. Bell
650 Bloomfield Avenue, Suite 105
Bloomfield, NJ 07003

Phone: 973-233-4291
Phone: 973-743-7070

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