Adverse medication events in the intensive care unit: avoidable or inevitable?
© BioMed Central Ltd 2005
Published: 7 March 2005
Recent publications have focused on patient safety and managing medications effectively . Adverse reactions to medicines and medication errors cost the National Health Service (NHS) approximately £0.5 billion per annum . To inform practice and facilitate policy revision we explored medication errors in two specialist cardiothoracic ICUs that utilise identical reporting mechanisms.
A retrospective analysis of the DATIX risk management database was performed for the 3-year period January 2002–November 2004. These events were categorised using the National Patient Safety Agency impact and consequence classifications . Events categorised as moderate or severe were individually investigated and an individual risk reduction strategy initiated.
During this 3-year period 114 medication-related adverse events were reported. There were 9.5 events per 1000 ICU bed-days. A total 14.9% of events were categorised as moderate or severe, while 85.1% were insignificant or mild.
Event type (all)
Number (% of total)
Major events (%)
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