Over 7,000 people die annually in the US as a result of medication errors.
If these numbers appear shocking it is because this count is even higher than the number of car accident deaths in the US! It is estimated that 1 in every 5 medication doses is wrong… many of which result in tragic consequences.
In hospitals and medical facilities we are often at the mercy of the professionals assigned to provide us care. This includes pharmacists and nurses who prescribe and administer medication as a means to treat the condition for which has been diagnosed. Hospital staff is often over-tasked and careless mistakes or complete omissions occur.
What is a Medication Error?
Medication errors can be deadly regardless of age but particularly harmful for young children and the elderly. Even a single medication error can yield devastating long-term adverse effects.
Here are the most common types of medication errors in hospitals:
- Error in Diagnosis – Treating the wrong illness
- Lack of Patient History and Medical Information
- Patient Chart Mix-Ups
- Poor Interactions
- Visually Similar Medications
- Wrong Dosage
For us, these mistakes may seem excusable and possibly even understandable! For medical professionals that have received extensive training, and are responsible for upholding their duty of care – These mistakes are inexcusable. Long term adverse effects, and the potential for death make this an undeniable priority to hold individuals guilty of wrongdoing fully accountable.
What to do When a Medication Error Occurs
The moment you suspect a medication error occurred, you should immediately request additional support and a review. While many mistakes are corrected before harm occurs, the staggering annual statistics do not lie! Many individuals are falling victim to poor decisions made by healthcare professionals. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury as a result of a medication error in a hospital, call me immediately.