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Software Glitch Put Veterans at Risk of Drug Overdoses at VA Hospitals

By Mike Adams, January 15, 2009 | Key concepts: VA hospitals, Veterans and Patient records

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When a software glitch garbled patient records across more than 50 veterans hospitals, causing some veterans to receive the wrong doses of potentially dangerous medications (like blood thinners), VA hospital administrators did what every bureaucrat does: They lied about it and told no one.

In one case, a patient being treated for chest pains and being given an IV treatment of heparin (a blood-thinning drug based on the same chemical used in rat poison) was left on the IV drip for eleven hours longer than would have been medically appropriate. Of course, he was never told about the problem, nor was any veteran patient informed that any mistakes had occurred at all!

It was all caused by a grand software glitch in the VA hospital computer system. When doctors and nurses pulled up patient records, the computer screens advised prescriptions, surgeries and medical procedures for other patients instead! Amazingly, no one was killed by the mix-up. (Or, at least, no one we yet know about. Then again, dead patients don't talk...)

One of the great benefits of modern medicine is that the drugs are so universally useless that even when prescription medications are given to the wrong people, nobody seems to notice. Everybody already expects to feel worse on the drugs anyway, so overdoses or incorrect prescriptions seem to be no worse than the "right" prescriptions.

In fact, you could probably just take all the pharmaceuticals in the hospital, randomly remix them, feed 'em to patients and get approximately the same results we see today. But if you really wanted to help patients, you should throw out all the drugs and start feeding the veterans some superfood smoothies. Then they wouldn't need all those toxic meds in the first place.

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Software Glitch Put Veterans at Risk of Drug Overdoses at VA Hospitals

From Google.com: The VA's recent glitches involved medical data vital signs, lab results, active meds that sometimes popped up under another patient's name on the computer screen. Records also failed to clearly display a doctor's stop order for a treatment, leading to reported cases of unnecessary doses of intravenous drugs such as blood-thinning heparin.... more

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