The Law Offices of John Phebus

Errors made by nurses

It may take time for new registered nurses in Arizona to become accustomed to the chaotic environment of a hospital. While they are adjusting, they are more likely to make a medical error. This can be attributed to not having enough experience, being unable to perform critical thinking sufficiently and being distracted.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, medical errors that occur in hospitals are responsible for 44,000 to 98,000 deaths each year. Based on information from the Joint Commission in 2013, the cause of most medical errors is medication mistakes although alarm fatigue has become a major safety issue and can result in patient injuries or deaths. New registered nurses can also make medical errors related to not adhering to policy, treatments, alarms, documentation, patient information and monitoring.

An error can be discovered by another nurse, pharmacist, physician, aide, the patient or the patient's family. Once the error has been recognized, the safety of the patient becomes the priority. The patient will be examined to determine his or her status. A physician is notified so that the appropriate treatment can be ordered to remedy the error. The error must also be fully documented according to the health care facility's policy. It is important the follow-up steps are completed as it can demonstrate that an attempt was made to correct the error.

The consequences of an error will depend on its severity and the patient's outcome. If the patient was harmed, an attorney might recommend the filing of a lawsuit against the facility based on hospital negligence.

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