How Hospital Labeling Errors Can Threaten Patient Safety
When hospital lab tests and medications are improperly labeled, patient safety can become severely affected. Labeling errors can lead to diagnostic mistakes and adverse drug reactions. For some patients, the consequences of labeling errors cause permanent injuries or death.
Medication errors: We recently wrote a blog on how medication errors are present in 50 percent of surgical procedures at U.S. hospitals. Labeling errors are one of the major reasons for these types of mistakes. Unfortunately for patients, many of the medications used during surgery can be dangerous if taken incorrectly. For example, labeling errors for anesthetics or sedatives can cause patients to wake up during surgical procedures or develop dangerously low blood pressure.
Diagnostic Errors: Hospital patients often undergo diagnostic tests to confirm the presence of health conditions and illnesses. Let’s say for example a patient has a treatable condition such as anemia, but his or her blood test contained a labeling error. As far as the doctor and hospital staff know, nothing is wrong with this patient and they are denied proper treatment. That’s just one possible consequence of a labeling error. If the blood test had been for something far more serious, such as leukemia, that patient might be denied lifesaving treatments.
How Patients and Families Can Fight Back Against Labeling Errors
Medical professionals are constantly busy and working quickly to treat as many patients as possible. Regardless of the chaotic environment found in hospitals, labeling errors are still preventable medical mistakes with serious consequences for patients. Patients and families affected by labeling errors may have legal options to seek justice against negligent hospitals.