Is There A New Source Of Anesthesia Errors?
Hospitals present many risks to the patients that reside in them. Hospital staff adequately addresses most risks, but as medical technology continues to advance, more risks are arising that are not as easy to fix. Anesthesia errors can have devastating effects on patients who can suffer permanent brain damage and even death. One medical device manufacturer sought to decrease the likelihood of anesthesia errors by removing the human element, but this has led to a whole new type of danger.
Smiths Medical manufactures infusion pumps designed to administer a wide array of prescription drugs, blood, antibiotics, and other liquids. The Medfusion 4000 infusion pump is also used to administer anesthesia, sometimes on pediatric and neonatal patients.
Medfusion 4000 can calculate, measure, and administer drugs to patients, which replaces manual calculations done by pharmacy technicians or doctors. The Medfusion 4000 also works wirelessly, connecting the hospital’s Internet. However, wireless devices like the infusion pump could be vulnerable to hacking.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has found wireless medical devices have security vulnerabilities that could make them a target. The DHS found eight separate vulnerabilities in the Medfusion 4000 and issued a warning to hospitals and doctors that attackers could remotely control the device, allowing them to alter the amount of medication administered to the patient.
While wireless medical devices have greatly advanced medical care, their vulnerability makes them a real threat to patients. For neonatal and pediatric patients, the amount of anesthesia medication needs to be very precisely administered. If a young patient receives a slightly altered amount, it could result in death.
How To Protect Yourself From Anesthesia Errors
Whether a hospital delivers anesthesia by a wireless device or by hand, there are certain things patients can do to help decrease the likelihood of anesthesia errors. Most importantly, patients need to feel free to ask questions. Asking how a hospital administers medication can open a dialogue with patients and doctors about their care. It is also a good idea for patients to do their research on hospital and doctors before procedures (if possible). A hospital’s record and reputation can alert you to lax security standards or careless pharmacy technicians.
It’s A Hospital’s Responsibility To Administer Medication Correctly
Even though there are things patients can do to reduce the risk of medication errors, it is ultimately the hospital’s responsibility to administer all medication correctly. When they fail to do so, they can be held responsible for the injuries caused to the patient.
Anesthesia Error Attorneys
If you or someone you love suffered from an anesthesia error in a Philadelphia hospital, the anesthesia error attorneys at Lopez McHugh LLP can help. We can review your case and help you understand your legal options. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.