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Unsafe medical practices may be all too common in Kentucky

The founder of HONOReform, a national advocacy group dedicated to ensure injection practices are followed in medical facilities, knows firsthand the devastating effects of unsafe injection practices. In 2001, she contracted hepatitis C while she underwent chemotherapy to fight her breast cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with her state's health department investigated how she contracted the disease. What they uncovered was startling.

She said she was dumbfounded and unsettled by what she learned. There was a failure to follow procedure. A clinic nurse had been reusing syringes to draw saline solution from a common IV bag. She allegedly did this during the post-flushing procedures prior to administering the chemotherapy drug. Due to the medical error, the HONOReform founder and 99 other patients contracted the hepatitis C virus. According to the founder, it was like she traded one life-threatening disease for another one.

The director for the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) worries that the case mentioned above is just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, he worries that many other remain unreported. Results from the ISMP Medication Safety Assessment for Hospitals showed that out of the over 1,300 hospital that completed the assessment, 2 percent didn't follow syringe practices. He emphasized that the number needs to be at 100 percent to avoid any hospital errors.

Medical malpractice occurs when a nurse, physician or hospital negligently harms a patient by using dirty syringes. Many patients who are victims of medical malpractice seek legal counsel to help them sue. A medical malpractice lawyer may talk to the opposing counsel to work out a personal injury settlement. An attorney may also help a wronged patient file a complaint in court against the negligent party.

Source: Anesthesiology News, "Unsafe Injection Practices Remain All Too Common", David Wild, July 23, 2013

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