Patients dying over failure to check for allergies
Published 11/04/2011 | 05:00
PATIENTS are dying or suffering serious illness because doctors and nurses are failing to check if they are allergic to certain medicines, a new report reveals.
Four patients died in the past six years after suffering a fatal reaction to drugs -- including two containing penicillin.
Other patients with medication allergies ended up in intensive care or had to spend longer in hospital after developing complications.
The warning is contained in a new report from the State Claims Agency, which collects data on accidents in hospitals and handles compensation cases brought by patients.
It said that in six years between 2004 and 2010 there were 35,510 incidents relating to medication safety reported and of these 751 were linked to allergic reactions by patients.
Other errors included giving the patient the wrong dosage, forgetting to give tablets, administering the wrong drug or putting the wrong labelling on the container.
The report, compiled by pharmacists at Tallaght Hospital in Dublin and Ailis Quinlan of the State Claims Agency, said doctors and nurses failing to check if a patient has a medication allergy are contributing to the potentially fatal blunders.
In one major teaching hospital 63 patients were given a drug containing a known allergen even though the risks were documented on the front of their prescription record.