Local News

Temporary Tattoos Among Safeguards Used For Patient Safety

Posted June 22, 2005 2:12 a.m. EDT

— Wednesday is National Nurses Time Out Day. It is one day that represents an everyday routine -- to ensure patient safety. The key is to take nothing for granted, especially when it comes to knowing the patient and the medications they receive.

Routine surgery will treat Frank Stanley's carpal tunnel syndrome. At WakeMed, a temporary tattoo will remind doctors and nurses where to work when Stanley is under sedation.

Allergies or prescription drugs could interact with medications given in the hospital. J.P. Vines has 23 medications. He brought all of the bottles with him before surgery to treat nerve problems in his right hand.

"I'm careful. I want them to be careful, of course," Vines said. "It's very important for people to know what medication they take you know."

Along with other safeguards, the National Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses emphasize labeling medications.

"In the operating room, we frequently take medications out of their original containers and put them into medicine glasses, syringes and basins that are not marked," said Sharon McNamara, president of the National Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses.

Every year in the United States, 1.3 million injuries result from medication errors in hospitals. Seven thousand people die from them.

In a recent study of 1,600 hospitals, 42 percent labled operating room medications inconsistently. Sixteen percent did not label them at all.