We live in a time where the great pandemic illnesses of the past, illnesses that claimed the lives of thousands of men, women and children, are hardly a threat. This is because we can treat these illnesses either with a vaccine (so they are never contracted), or with proscription medication. Undoubtedly, the advent of modern medicine has both improved and elongated our lives. However, use of the wrong medication can be deadly.
Every year 1.5 million people are harmed by medication errors. Also, 100,000 people die every year as a result of medication errors. The monetary cost is also staggering. 3.5 billion dollars each year is what medication errors cost.
How could this be? The answer is deceptively and despicably simple- healthcare is a business. In business, the bottom line is profit. Sadly, the almighty dollar is more important than people’s lives.
A very successful and commonly employed way of securing higher profits is by cutting overhead costs. In most businesses the largest contributor to overhead cost is labor. Medical providers achieve lower labor costs in two ways. First, maintain fewer employees. Second, replace skilled labor with unskilled labor.
For example, in the first instance, a hospital might retain a fewer number of employees. This puts more work and stress on those that remain, therefore the likelihood of making a mistake, including a medication error is increased. In the second instance, highly skilled labor such as RNs is largely replaced by less skilled labor such as LPNs. As the skill of the work force decreases, the likelihood of a medication error also increases. When profits are up and the economy is strong, Hospitals are less likely to resort to this cost saving measures. In the absence of the cost saving measures, there is more, skilled labor in the hospital resulting in fewer medication errors per year. Thus, there is a correlation between the strength of the American economy and the number of medications errors per year.
To a hospital such an error is a negligible inconvenience at best and a possible liability at worst. What gets lost is what medication errors really are: deadly. When they happen people die. And the effect of that has huge impacts far beyond and above the hospitals bottom line. It impacts family members left behind, in a very real emotional and financial way.
Sadly, when someone dies as a result of a medication error there is nothing that can bring them back. However, there can be justice and some measure of consolation and financial recovery for the loved ones left behind. If you have lost a loved one because of a hospital medication error you need to contact an experienced dangerous medication attorney today.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a hospital you need to call an experienced injury law attorney. All initial consultations are both free and confidential because we understand this is a sensitive issue. The attorneys at the Dolman law group are ready and willing to help your family. Please call us today: 727-451-6900.