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What steps should be taken? Should the Dr/nurses be held responsible and to what degree?

In your opinion, what steps could be taken at hospitals/dr offices to prevent a nurse or doctor from accidentally overdosing a patient or giving a patient the wrong medications? Obviously this is still a problem, after a few news articles I have read recently. Just this morning it was reported that a nurse at a Children's Hospital has given a newborn infant an overdose of calcium chloride that was 10 times the recommended dose. Sadly that infant did not make it. What would YOU suggest as a safeguard for this happening? I will post links below to recent articles IF you want to read about it. Also what do you think should happen to the doctors/ nurses who make these fatal mistakes?


Asked by AprilDJC at 3:35 PM on Sep. 28, 2010 in Politics & Current Events

Level 20 (8,524 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (16)
  • I always ask them over and over what they are giving them and how much and for what. So that way they have to double check what they are doing. As a parent it is a responsibility to double check all of things that have to deal with your children. I know we are not all doc. or nurses but we have to use our judgment as a parent. This is why I do not give my children medication unless it is a life or death situation and DOUBLE CHECK I ALWAYS DO!!!

    Answer by agriffinmom4 at 3:43 PM on Sep. 28, 2010

  • there will ALWAYS be fatal mistakes from time to time, Drs. and Nurses are human and can make mistakes. That's why they have malpractice insurance. Every time one of these horrible acciendents has happend, a new safe guard was put into play. As far as what specificly needs to be done, I'm not a Dr. or Nurse and there are MANY variables to accidental overdoses, wrong meds...etc.

    Answer by Zakysmommy at 3:40 PM on Sep. 28, 2010

  • In our facility, the vast majority of medications are unit dosed and the EXACT ordered dose is dispensed (I work in Nicu and Picu). In addition, EVERY drug and dose is double checked by 2 RNs, both for new orders and each individual dose. Further, most of the drugs dispensed by pharmacy are placed in a locked computer system. There are so many points along the way for errors to be resolved before reaching the patient. Drugs and drugs preparation are considered "red box" procedures, although with the pace of HC today, those objectives are rarely met. From everything I have ever heard or been told, nurses are rarely sued, as clients usually go for the deep pockets-the hospital!


    Answer by Sisteract at 4:31 PM on Sep. 28, 2010

  • Medication procedure is. - The Dr orders the medication. The nurse picks up the order and it is co-signed by another RN.
    The order goes to pharmacy, who dispenses the drug. A nurse is NOT permitted to give a drug without knowing what the drug does, side effects, adverse reactions and normal dose. Dangerous drugs are locked in a computerized cabinet which opens by scanning RN's finger print. You must typed in patients name and drug. If the entire drug is not being given another RN must scan her finger print also. Before giving medication you must acknowledge, Right Person, Right Drug, Right Dose, Right Time, and Right Route.
    In order for that medication to be given to that child, more than one person made an error.

    Even if the Doctor ordered the wrong medication, the blame falls on the RN.

    Answer by Rnurse at 4:14 PM on Sep. 28, 2010

  • well the fact that most hospitals are understaffed, doctors handwriting are mostly unreadable, and the meds are sent up from the pharmacist who also probably cant read the writing and doctors ego's are such that you can not call them on almost mandatory for nurse to carry malpractice insurance these days....I personally would never work on a hospital floor again, it s just insanity!

    Answer by michaux at 4:16 PM on Sep. 28, 2010

  • I personally would never work on a hospital floor again, it s just insanity! Michaux

    That's exactly why I would like to know the details that lead up to this terrible error.

    Answer by Rnurse at 4:25 PM on Sep. 28, 2010

  • AprilDJC

    Comment by AprilDJC (original poster) at 3:37 PM on Sep. 28, 2010

  • Tootoobusy, I mean what should their "punishment" be? Some people think it's enough that they have to live with the knowledge that they made that mistake and took someone's life, some people think they should lose their license and never practice again. I believe there has to be a medium in there somewhere in there. Who should pay in the case of a lawsuit? I would say in that case, then maybe yes the doctor or nurse who made that mistake should be responsible for that but honestly I'm not even sure on that. I think if it were my child and that happened, yes I would be tremendously upset but I don't think I would sue because nothing good would come of it. But if I was that nurse or doctor who killed someone's child or family member, then I would want to give them everything I could. I was just curious to see what others think.

    Comment by AprilDJC (original poster) at 3:42 PM on Sep. 28, 2010

  • I just think it's really sad, and if they were to maybe have an additional nurse or two checking over the charts and administering the medications, do you think that would help or would it put too much cost on the hospital to be having two people doing the same job?

    Comment by AprilDJC (original poster) at 3:44 PM on Sep. 28, 2010

  • I feel heartly sorry for the family of this newborn. Yes, they should sue, but that won't bring back their child.
    Medication errors do happen, human error. However, if the RN followed all required steps before giving medication, this would have been prevented . I don't want to blame her without knowing the details that lead up to why she didn't follow procedure. Hospitals are really working very hard to prevent situations like this. No one goes into the health care profession with the intention of hurting someone.

    what do you think should happen to the doctors/ nurses who make these fatal mistakes? We get sued.

    Answer by Rnurse at 4:04 PM on Sep. 28, 2010