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How Can Medication Errors Be Prevented?

If you go to a hospital, the assumption is that you will get better or your condition will improve. However, as many people in Georgia and around the country have learned, medication errors are frequent and can lead to serious injury and even death. For example, a report published in the National Institutes of Health reports that one in seven patients in a hospital had an adverse drug reaction, many of whom had to have additional medical care.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality points out that there are a number of reasons these reactions occur. For example, a physician could prescribe one medication when another medication with a similar sounding name should have been prescribed. Additionally, patients are sometimes given the wrong dosage of a drug. This is especially true among younger patients, whose weight determines who much of a medication is required.

The NIH researchers suggested that hospital staff can reduce medication errors by relying on computerized prescriptions and having a pharmacist make hospital rounds with physicians. The AHRQ also provides tips so you can help prevent medication mistakes, such as the following:

  • Make sure you learn about drugs you have been prescribed and ask your physician about the side effects associated with the medication.
  • Take a look at the prescription and ensure you can clearly read it.
  • Talk to the pharmacist about the drug.
  • Let doctors know about any drug allergies you might have.
  • Give physicians a complete list of medications you are currently taking.

Even when you do as much as possible to prevent a mistake, sadly, these errors can still occur. Medical staff must be held responsible for the medication errors they make.

While this information may be useful, it should not be taken as legal advice.

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