Medication Errors and How to Avoid Them

In hospitals across the United States, an estimated 1 million medication mistakes occur each year that result in 7,000 fatalities. For these reasons, Connecticut patients and families of loved ones who are on prescription medications might consider what they can do to avoid these errors.

One of the first steps patients and their families can take is to become fully educated regarding all the medications they or their loved ones are taking. When in doubt about a particular medication, the dosage instructions or if the drug will have an adverse reaction when taken with other medicines, the advice of a doctor, pharmacist or other health care professional should be sought. If a patient is an elderly person living alone or in a care facility, a health care aide or nurse may be available to assist with medication management

It is also a good idea for caregivers to review the patient’s list of medications and make sure each medication is appropriate for the patient’s needs. If the patient’s doctor prescribes a new medication, and the patient experiences abnormal side effects such as marked drowsiness or any other unusual reaction, these may be signs that the medication needs to be discontinued.

Furthermore, whenever a loved is admitted and discharged from a hospital, caregivers can double check the patient’s list of medications with the hospital’s list. This precaution can help avoid any confusion about the patient’s medications that could lead to errors.

Whenever people need hospitalization, they expect to be cared for by well-trained medical professionals. However, when a negligent physician, nurse or another hospital employee commits a medical mistake that causes significant harm to a patient, the victim may wish to meet with an attorney in order to learn about the recourse that may be available.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Holy Screw-Up, Batman… This Could Happen to You!“, Victor Imbimbo, March 23, 2016