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Medical Errors Assignment Essay

Medical Errors Assignment Essay

Medical errors are a failure to meet an intended planned action or the use of a wrong plan to achieve an aim in a medical setting (Institute of Medicine, To Err, is Human, 1999). Various types of these errors include a failure to diagnose correctly by not carrying out the required tests or failure to act on test results. A failure in administering proper treatment or in the dose or route of administration are also significant reasons for the medical error. The error can also arise from failure to properly follow-up on a patient. An example of one of these errors was narrated by a patient a few years ago when she walked into the emergency department with swollen eyes, felt her throat was closing and being a doctor herself she knew she was suffering from an allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. She knew what she needed, and it was a drug called epinephrine, a potent drug that would put a stop to all of her presenting conditions.Medical Errors Assignment Essay She said when she told the nurse what was happening to her, she was rushed to the trauma room where doctors and nurses formed a circle around her. Deep down in her mind, she knew epinephrine would give her instant relief, but unfortunately, it was not going to turn out that way. Too quickly the nurse said, “I have given all the medications” quoting directly what the nurse told the other physicians and nurses. That was when she realized she had been administered the epinephrine incorrectly. She immediately started feeling pain in her chest, head, arms, and legs. her heart was racing faster until it started skipping beats at this time she was clinging to consciousness. She said she felt someone holding her arm as she battled the thought that she was going to die in the ER due to a medical error.

The nurse had mistakenly injected the epinephrine into her bloodstream directly. Normally for allergic reactions, epinephrine is given intramuscularly. The muscle of choice is the thigh muscle, and it is administered in a concentration that is ten times stronger than what should be injected into the blood. Receiving ten times more epinephrine than a dying patient would get to jumpstart his/her heart. This kind of error has been fatal on numerous occasions, well she was lucky.Medical Errors Assignment Essay


As she regained consciousness she was struggling with an intense headache, nausea, and confusion; it took some time before she could be coherent again only to see that her caregivers were acting as if nothing has happened. According to a journal published by the Institute of Medicine: To Err is Human, building a safer health system, as many as 98000 people die as a result of medical errors every year, errors that could have been prevented (1999). Moreover, this is due to a fragmented health care system that hardly focuses on medical errors and how to deal with them (IOM, To Err, is Human, 1999). In this case, there was someone who almost died from a mistake from one of their staffs, and they were behaving as if it was normal. She continued her story as she worked up the courage to ask a nurse if she was aware a mistake had been made. She said she would not forget the look on the nurse’s face as she mumbled a reply. It was only after the confrontation that the doctors and nurses directly told her about the error, which she happened to know because she was a doctor and knew the right route of administering epinephrine.Medical Errors Assignment Essay

Epinephrine should not be a drug to be administered incorrectly because allergies are common and epinephrine is not an alien drug to any healthcare provider. Such a mistake should not have happened if there was a good system check. The vial meant for intramuscular injection must have been wrongly placed among the vials meant for the intravenous route, and the nurse failed to re-check as she was concerned about the patient in front of her who needed emergency intervention. That must have prompted her to inject the epinephrine intravenously instead of intramuscularly. “Establishing a national focus to create leadership, research, tools, and protocols to enhance the knowledge base about safety” (IOM. To Err is Human, 1999. Pg.3). If there were a designated agency that focuses on monitoring medical errors in a bid to improve patient safety, hospitals would not fail to run a good system check to prevent such a catastrophe from happening. Furthermore, “Identifying and learning from errors by developing a nationwide public mandatory reporting system and by encouraging healthcare organizations and practitioners to develop and participate in voluntary reporting systems” (IOM To Err is Human, 1999, pg.3) would go a long way in preventing a repeat of this error.  Thus, healthcare providers would be able to report their errors and learn from them without fear of being litigated or facing a lawsuit.


Human, To Err Is. (1999). Building a safer health system. Institute of Medicine, 112.Medical Errors Assignment Essay



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