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Standard rules could keep New Mexico patients safe

According to the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, medical errors harm 1.5 million Americans annually. A lack of standardization revolving around liquid oral and IV medications is thought to be one of the top issues. Typically, a patient may have an IV inserted while in an ambulance on the way to the hospital and have it removed and replaced when he or she gets to the hospital.

However, the new line may have a different concentration of the medication that was administered on the way to the hospital. The patient may have his or her IV replaced again after leaving the emergency room and heading toward the operating room. Again, the medicine a patient receives may be a different concentration than what was given in the ambulance or in the ER. In what may seem predictable, a patient would then be reconnected again after surgery and taking a trip to the ICU.

Patients may receive these assortment of concentrations because different doctors may have different standards for administering medication. Also, the equipment that is used to provide medication needs to be calibrated each time a patient is connected to a specific IV. A new program called Standardize 4 Safety is trying to ensure that different areas within a hospital are on the same page to increase patient safety.

If a patient is given the wrong dose of a drug and is harmed as a result, it may be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. An attorney who represents plaintiffs in this type of litigation can be of assistance in identifying the party or parties that should be held financially responsible.

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