52 hospital errors in six months

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 25 September, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 25 September, 2010, 12:00am

Some 52 cases of medication error or misidentification of patients were recorded in public hospitals in the first six months of the year, the Hospital Authority said yesterday.

There were 30 such cases in the second quarter, eight more than in the first, the latest bimonthly 'HA Risk Alert', distributed to all health care staff in public hospitals to help them learn from mistakes, shows.

The cases mainly involved mistaken administration or overdose of diabetes drugs, anti-coagulant agents and dangerous drugs.

An authority spokeswoman, who refused to say where the cases occurred, said the mistakes were discovered before administration to the patients.

The authority also reported an unnecessary operation on the left foot of a 25-year-old man, who had suffered a fracture in his right foot. A CT scan of the right heel bone was mistakenly labelled as the left. The surgeon found the injury to the patient's left heel bone did not fit the scan. He x-rayed the heel, found it was not significantly injured, closed the incision and then operated on the right heel.

The authority recommended that medical staff correlate any scan images with clinical conditions before surgery.

Authority chief executive Shane Solomon said that the disclosing of these errors enabled medical staff to learn from them.