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Hospitals can face fines from the state for medication mistakes

When a doctor or nurse makes a mistake, the results can be devastating and even fatal for a patient. Patients who have been injured because of a doctor's or hospital's negligence can seek compensation by filling a medical malpractice lawsuit. Though the damage is sometimes irreversible, compensation can help with medical expenses and ensuring that the patient is comfortable for the remainder of his or her life.

But hospitals can also face fines from the state's department of public health for certain mistakes. For example, several hospitals are being fined after inspections showed that there were problems with certain medication administration procedures.

One hospital was fined several thousands of dollars after making a mistake with the dosage amount of a patient's medication. The patient was in the hospital for a heart problem. One day the patient received medication for abnormal heart rhythm. Unfortunately, the amount the patient got was 10 times more than the appropriate dosage.

The patient's heart rate quickly dropped dangerously low; emergency responders had to come help the patient. As a result, the hospital was the center of an investigation to determine why the medication error occurred.

The hospital itself took steps to ensure that this sort of mistake would not occur again. Ensuring adequate training is one step that hospital officials believe will prevent medication errors in the future.

The article does not give any information about the patient following the medication error. Did the patient survive? Were there additional complications caused by the overdose? There is also no information as to whether the patient filed a lawsuit against the person who administered the medication or the hospital.

Source: LA Times online, "East L.A. hospital fined $50,000 for medication mix-up," Lisa Girion, 02 June 2011

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