Patients rely on physicians, nurses, and pharmacies to appropriately prescribe, administer, and dispense medications. Tennessee medication errors at any point in this process can have deadly consequences to consumers. Many healthcare providers are taught to double-check medications to ensure that they have the right patient, dose, time, route, and medication before providing it to the consumer. However, despite this training, over a million people suffer medication errors every year.
For example, a nurse’s medical error at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) took the life of a 75-year-old patient. The patient checked into the hospital to receive treatment for bleeding in her brain. Two days after her admission, the patient’s condition began to improve, and the staff was preparing for her release after a final scan. The nurse at issue was supposed to administer a sedative before the scan; however, she accidentally administered a paralyzing medication. The drug left the woman brain dead, and she was taken off life support a few days later.
The nurse explained that while she is responsible for the mistake, the hospital’s procedure made the event more likely to occur. She explained that the hospital permitted nurses to override the medication cabinet safety prompts. As such, since it was a regular practice, the nurse overrode the safety prompts that appeared on screen when she was gathering the medication. The mix-up occurred because the woman searched for the medication’s brand name, but the cabinet was set to search for generic names. Authorities reported that the bottle contained a warning label that indicated that the medication was a “PARALYZING AGENT.” The nurse