Saturday, March 15, 2014

Patient Safety in the News February 2014

In this story, NPR highlighted Senator Joe Manchin’s attempts to introduce legislation to force the FDA to ban a new painkiller, Zohydro, which was placed on the market this week. Zohydro is one of the most powerful prescription pain medications created and it is crushable, so that it can be abused by snorting it. The drug is so potent that swallowing one tablet could kill a child. 42 different public health organizations have called for the FDA to ban the drug, as well as attorneys general from 28 states. The FDA’s own advisory panel voted 11-2 against approving the drug, but top FDA officials over-ruled this decision, taking the position that the drug was needed. Emails later became public that showed that FDA officials participated in private meetings with pain drug companies that paid organizers thousands of dollars to attend, including Zohydro’s manufacturer.  Matthew Perrone wrote a similar story for ABC.  Huffington Post Live discussed this story in the context of the nation’s current hydrocodone abuse epidemic.

Yolanda Kennedy, for Medical Xpress, discussed a study appearing in the British Medical Journal Quality & Safety which demonstrated that by requiring hospital pharmacists to collaborate with health care providers during key points of a hospital admission, overall prescription errors were reduced 79% and  severely harmful medication errors were entirely eliminated. 

Errors due to the failure of junior physicians and nurses to speak up about concerns of patient safety were discussed in this article appearing on BMC Health Services Research.

Vineet Chopra, MD and Laurence F. McMahon Jr., MD, argued in JAMA that the rudimentary alarm systems in hospitals need to be updated with new technology that analyzes information and sends meaningful warnings to health practitioners.