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Patient injury resulting from medication use or Adverse Drug Event (ADE) is the most common non surgical medical malpractice occuring in hospitals

Many adverse drug events are preventable and constitute Medical Malpractice. An adverse drug event occurs when a patient suffers injury resulting from medication use. Adverse drug events are the results of medication errors or of known side effects that may happen even if the medication is taken correctly.

According to a recent report from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) and led by Audrey J. Weiss, Ph.D. and Anne Elixhauser, Ph.D. , 380,000 to 450,000 hospitalized patients suffer preventable adverse drug events every year.

According to the most recent statistics, in 2011, the most common causes of ADE during hospital stays were Steroids, Antibiotics, Opiates, Narcotics and Anticoagulants with 8 out of 1000 adults over 65 experiencing one of them while hospitalized.

Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Center for Delivery, Organization, and Markets, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP), State Inpatient Databases (SID) for 32 States, 2011

The study also shows that Medicare-covered patients are the most at risk to be injured by an adverse drug event while Medicaid patients have the lowest risk.

When looking at ADEs by hospital ownership, public hospitals have a much lower rate of ADEs than private hospitals. The highest rate of ADEs was recorded in private, not for profit hospitals.

The study also show that hospitals in the Midwest have a much higher rate of adverse drug events than those in other regions of the Unites Sates.