Medical Equipment Errors
When the Institute of Medicine published its 2000 report, “To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System,” it found that sometimes medicine makes mistakes.
All sorts of things can go wrong. Technical errors made up the largest group (44%), followed by misdiagnosis (17%), failure to prevent injury (12%), and medication errors (10%).
Technical errors can be blamed on the human operator and on the malfunctioning of medical equipment. Some errors are due to the limitations of the test itself. Sometimes the machines simply fail.
Generally, A Medical Equipment Error is Due to One of Six Factors
- The basic design of the equipment or the place where it sits;
- Equipment failure;
- Incorrect procedures or a failure to follow procedures;
- Operator error;
- A lack of supplies and materials;
- And an improper environment for the machine operator.
While medical equipment fails less than one percent of the time, that doesn’t matter if you are in the one percent.
Medical equipment errors can occur in anesthesia, infusion pumps, and syringe pumps. One pump in particular, the PCA pump, has been associated with a number of deaths due to a failure to recognize the mode that delivers drugs in concentration. Batteries can go bad or an IV drip can dislodge. Sometimes medical equipment can fail, such as a heart defibrillator, blood pressure equipment, or tools used to diagnose cancer.
Other times equipment can work against the patient. A blood warmer needs to have detectors to prevent the introduction of air, which can kill a patient instantly. Infections in lines that carry medication and hydration to patients happens in 80,000 patients a year and fatalities can occur up to one quarter of the time. For example, a urinary catheter introduces infection in four percent of ICU patients in the U.S. After 10 days on a ventilator, six percent of ICU patients develop bacterial pneumonia which kills patients roughly half of the time.
About 70% of all Errors are Thought to be Preventable
Often it is operator error that leads to the medical equipment error. That is why routine checks, maintenance, and training are necessary to ensure the equipment is working properly. While most hospital workers are conscientious, there are times when the staff falls short. If human error happens at the same time the equipment falls short, it can be considered medical malpractice.
Protecting You and Your Family Since 1979
If you or a loved one has been the victim of this type of medical malpractice, a Jacksonville medical malpractice attorney will need to be involved as quickly as possible to preserve all evidence needed to prove your case. If you believe a piece of medical equipment may have failed or was improperly used to your detriment, call Farah & Farah for a comprehensive and confidential review of your case. 855-797-9899.