Medication Errors

Friday, July 21, 2006

A report concluded on Thursday, July 20th 2006, that roughly 1.5 million Americans are injured because of errors in their medications.

“The report estimates that such errors in hospitals alone cost the health system well over $3.5 billion per year. That does not include errors made at doctors' offices, pharmacies, long-term care facilities, and in patients' own homes.” Link

Now this is down right scary. 3.5 billion? Most a likely preventable excluding adverse reaction of course. I realize they are trying ot come up with a new way to cut costs and most importantly save lives. Hopefully the new system will be more affective. The number is staggering.

Personally, I have had the displeasure to be on the receiving end of numerous experiences where errors with prescriptions received over the years. Everything from wrong dosages, prescriptions misplaced by the pharmacy and later found days later, to the amount of times per day to be taken off by one or two, drug interactions and once even have had the wrong prescription inside a bottle labeled as something else. Thankfully I was able to catch the majority of them. Remaining vigilant in one's treatment may just save a life.

Some of the ways I have been able to avoid a catastrophic situation is by following from some past, hard learned experiences. One of the better ideas is to go over with the doctor what the prescription says and insist it be legible not just to him or her but to anyone who will read it. Photocopying afterwards does not hurt either just in case to protect ones's self against a “he said, she said” type situation. Also I try not to hesitate to thoroughly go over what the prescription says when it is dropped of at the pharmacy as well as when it is picked up. Doesn't hurt to open the bottle to check the medication is really what the label says, If there are any doubts the pharmacist will be able to help out. And if I am ever unfortunate enough to be place in hospital ask a family member or friend to ask what is being given and the amount. Plus I like to let them know of past experiences and allergies again even of the computer says the same things.

I don't mean to come across as expecting mistakes from some very intelligent individuals but as the more times a task is done the higher the probability a mistake will happen.

Has anyone else had problems, close calls, or issues with a prescription How wide spread do you think this is Does anyone know what the statistics are for Canada

In the sick room, ten cents' worth of human understanding equals ten dollars' worth of medical science.
-Martin H. Fischer



wow! right label, but wrong drug inside? that's scary

By Anonymous Mindy, at 22 July 2006 at 07:37  

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