Diabetic Suffers Insulin Attack While Under Hospital Care
Posted on Apr 19, 2012
A type-1 diabetic reported a serious medication mistake during a recent visit to a Seattle hospital for treatment of a ruptured disc.
The patient, whose name has not been released, was admitted for a procedure to repair a ruptured a spinal disk in 2011. He gave his medical history to the admitting nurse, and made sure that his current drug usage was up to date in his hospital electronic medical record.
The week after his back surgery was performed, the patient’s blood sugars steadily rose. At one point, his blood sugar reached 700 mg/dl. He was prescribed Vicodin for pain, but the hospital made no mention of his insulin medication when he was discharged.
The patient was eventually admitted to the hospital’s ICU for intensive insulin therapy. While receiving treatment, he was told that he had not been given his regular Levemir insulin injection for at least three days. On the day of his surgery, there was no record of his receiving any insulin at all.
The man later consulted with his physician, who told him that his blood sugar level at the time of his procedure was high enough to trigger a stroke. Despite their oversights, the hospital insisted that no mistakes had been made.
The Seattle Times confirmed that these kinds of in-care hospital errors are fairly common. A 2010 study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that one in five hospital patients suffered harm due to prescription medication mistakes, 40 percent of which could have been avoided.
In addition, a U.S. Health and Human Services report from November 2010 estimated that 180,000 Medicare patients die each year because of healthcare mistakes, putting the elderly at special risk of injury.
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