In medical practice, today many nursing professionals face challenges that touch on laws and ethics more than ever. The reason for this is medical doctors, nurses and administrators are consistently attending to many patients per hour every day. Therefore, they must adapt to new technological requirement such as how to manage health records. Overworking or daily management issues can lead to medical errors presided over by medical professionals. It is reported that many professional perform preside over errors and in the process between 40,000 to 98,000 die every year globally (Chu n.p). This paper seeks to discuss errors in medical administration negligence while establishing the cause and effect then highlighting on the relevant laws broken and the ethical dilemmas implicated.
Errors in Medication Administration
The outcomes of medical error administration are loss of income, implicated costs and death to affected patients. In United States, more than 40,000 people die yearly as a result of medical error performed via negligence, and another 10,000 have reported complications as a result of errors in administration (Chu n.p). Also, errors result into loss of income, productivity and leads to disability with a cost implication of more than 20 billion dollars annually. Medical errors experienced as a result of negligence include wrong prescription by medical professionals, failure to provide medication before scheduled dosage and when medication is given at the wrong time. Further, nurses can deliberately give a patient greater or lesser amount of medication and provision of improper dosage to patients.
Cause and Effect of Medication Errors
These errors are caused by negligence in situations when nursing professionals are deliberately distracted from main course and procedures. Also, negligence arising from the environment such as not paying due consideration to lighting in a medical room may result to lack of enough light prompting nurses to make mistakes. Further, medical professionals may make deliberate assumptions on knowledge and understanding required for certain procedures thereby making mistakes in the process. Moreover, a professional may hurriedly capture a patient record and in the process acquire incomplete data used in administration. Memory lapses in medical practice such as knowing that a patient is allergic but later forgetting may lead to errors during prescription. Lastly, systemic issues such as wrong labeling, giving similar names to medications may lead to medical errors since professionals cannot provide an accurate distinction.
Legal and Ethical Dilemmas
When medical professionals through negligence perform errors in medication, such activities touch on legal and ethical dilemmas. Before providing medications, medical professionals must deeply understand professional responsibilities. Ignorance on responsibilities may result to undetermined delays in receiving and administering dosage leaving a patient to suffer unnecessarily. In respect to legislation, the common law applies to negligence and malpractice resulting from judicial decisions made in courts when matters touching on negligence are decided. Significantly, nurses are expected to operate on the confines of standards of care because any deviation may fall under the tort of negligence and malpractice. Litigations relates to negligence resulting from failure to be reasonable and act in a way that is in total disregard to the welfare of patients. Ethical dilemmas likely to arise include lack of respect for patients, harming patients, unfairness in administration, telling lies and infidelity to accepted standards of operations.
In conclusion, it is worth noting that medical professionals play crucial role in providing care to patients. However, it is important to note that patients are core in nursing practice and therefore should go through professional practice. Therefore, at all times medical professionals should ensure their conduct does not border on negligence in the form of errors in medication. If they operate according to set professional standards and guidelines they will greatly avoid costly litigations and ethical dilemmas.
Chu, Ruby Z. Simple steps to reduce medication errors. Nursing2016: Volume 46 – Issue 8 – p
63–65 doi: 10.1097/01.NURSE.0000484977.05034.9c.2016. Available at: http://journals.lww.com/nursing/Fulltext/2016/08000/Simple_steps_to_reduce_medication_errors.16.aspx?trendmd-shared=0