Oncology Nurses Can Take Steps to Avoid Common Fatal Errors
Unfortunately, medical errors are a common cause of death in America. From minor miscommunications to significant, unfathomable mistakes, patients often lose their lives because of one preventable action. One type of potential mistake patients face is nurses or physicians administering medications incorrectly. Drugs can be administered in a number of different ways including orally through pill form, intravenously, or directly into the spinal canal. Some medications can be administered in more than one form while other drugs should only be administered in one particular way. When a drug is given to a patient improperly, it may lead to serious injury and death.
Oncology Nurses Can Avoid Improperly Administering Chemotherapy Drugs
During the Oncology Nursing Society’s 42nd Annual Congress, a presenter discussed the proper, evidence-based administration of vincristine to patients undergoing chemotherapy. Vincristine is a vinca alkaloid that is commonly used during chemotherapy treatment to block the growth of cancer. It is very effective. However, if it is administered incorrectly and directly into the patient’s spinal fluid, it will lead to paralysis, neurological defects, and death. Unfortunately, this mistake can occur when patients receive other chemotherapy drugs directly into their spine. To avoid this error, oncology nurses are encouraged to always administer vincristine through mini-IV drip bags. Not only does using a mini bag prevent incorrect administration, it can also reduce the risk of extravasation, which is the leaking of intravenous drugs into the surrounding tissue. If the drug is never administered through a syringe, then it is impossible to improperly administer it into the spine.
Nurses Will Need Help Making the Transition
While the most recent evidence points to the use of mini-IV drip bags as the safest way to administer this type of medication and avoid extravasation, it is admittedly a difficult adjustment for many nurses. For years, nurses have given patients this type of drug as an intravenous push through a side port on a free-flowing line, believing this was the best way. Oncology nursing staff across the country will require updated information and training on properly using the mini-IV bags.
A Patient’s Rights After Improper Administration of Medication
If a patient is injured because a nurse or physician improperly administered a medication, then that patient may have a medical malpractice claim against the professional and their employer. A medical malpractice claim is based on an allegation that a medical professional was negligent, reckless, or intentionally did something wrong in providing you medical care. The patient and their attorney will have to provide evidence that proves the medical provider did not uphold its duty to the patient, and in failing to do, caused that patient injury. If successful, the patient can seek to be compensated for their:
- Medical expenses;
- Pain and suffering; and
- Mental anguish.
Call Our Texas Medical Malpractice Lawyers Today
If you were injured because of a doctor or nurse’s mistake, contact us at The Bettersworth Law Firm today to schedule an initial consultation. Our passionate New Braunfels medical malpractice attorneys are eager to help you immediately.