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Recently, a study was conducted on the distribution, causes and consequences of voluntarily reported between ICU and non-ICU settings. A cross sectional study of ICU and non-ICU medication errors voluntarily reported by participating hospitals between 1999 and 2005 was evaluated. Recognizing that many medication errors are not “self-reported” by the offending health care professional, the following conclusions were reached:
- More harmful medication errors were reported in ICU versus non-ICU settings;
- Medication errors occur frequently in the administration phase in ICU;
- When errors occur, patients and family members are rarely informed;
- Consideration should be given to developing additional safeguards against medication errors in the ICU setting, especially during administration;
- Consideration should be given to eliminating barriers to error disclosures.
In Florida when reported, the law requires disclosure under a recently enacted constitutional amendment. But don’t expect medication errors to be reported or for Florida health care providers to tell patients they have the right to know about such errors. They are still fighting in the courts to avoid producing incident reports regarding such medical errors, notwithstanding patient’s clear constitutional right to this information.