Massachusetts residents go to the hospital with the expectation of being properly treated. In order to obtain this effective care, a doctor must first accurately diagnose the condition from which the patient is suffering, and then check up on that diagnosis. If there is a doctor error in making the diagnosis or in following up with the condition, the result can be tragic. A recent jury verdict in a medical malpractice case shows just how damaging these mistakes can be for patients.
Although some Massachusetts residents probably believe that the nationwide conversion to electronic medical records should help to improve the quality of healthcare by making it less expensive and more efficient, a report has recently been released about a number of serious drawbacks to the switch. For example, pharmaceutical malpractice could result when some drug orders may be transferred from a hospital to a pharmacy using a different electronic application. This may result in a different drug or dose than the one that was originally ordered. In fact, the report cites an example of a mistaken electronic order for a dangerously high dose of a heart medicine that was caught just in time.
The Chief of the Division of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School has recently published an article addressing the growing concerns about medication safety in nursing homes. Unfortunately, medical malpractice involving pharmaceutical errors is particularly prevalent among this vulnerable population of individuals currently residing at long-term care facilities in Massachusetts and across the country.