Thursday, April 9, 2009
Medical Reports: Medical Mistakes
Millions of medical mistakes are made in hospitals every year. Now, new technology is helping nurses at one local hospital better protect patients. Seven's Diana Diaz has more on avoiding Medical Mistakes.
WSVN -- Fear and outrage followed after actor Dennis Quaid's newborn twins were given an overdose of the drug Heparin back in 2007. They survived and are just fine, but what's really scary is that more than 8 million medical mistakes are made every year in hospitals nationwide.
Charlotte Dardanello: "And the 8 million is probably very conservative because we believe medication errors are under reported."
That's why the staff at North Shore Medical Center is very excited about new technology designed to prevent medical mistakes. It's called the Bridge Program.
Charlotte Dardanello: "The Bridge Program is a bar coding technology for medication administration."
Here's how it works: Each nurse will have her own work station to bring directly to the patient's bedside. After scanning her own ID, she then scans the medication and then the patient's armband.
Charlotte Dardanello: "The computer will let them know if it's the right medication, at the right time, the right dose, the right frequency and the right route."
If something is not right, a warning sign will come up alerting the nurse she can then check the original order or call the doctor.
Michelle Rickmann-Dobson: "It allows us to catch any errors in dosage, allergic reactions that the patient might have."
As a critical care nurse, Michelle Rickmann-Dobson knows how important it is that the patient receives the proper medication and dosage. A misplaced decimal point or an extra zero can be the difference between life and death.
Michelle Rickmann-Dobson: "You can click and see it comes in 325 strengths, it comes in elixir format and it comes in a pill of 500 mg."
And there's no need to worry about having a hard time reading a doctor's order.
Michelle Rickmann-Dobson: "It's all electronic, it's legible, it's easy to read, it's electronic signing. There's much more accountability with safety issues for a nurse."
Diana Diaz: "The Bridge Program goes into effect at North Shore Medical Center starting next month."