Medication Errors Rising in the United States

Americans call poison control services once every 21 seconds because of medication errors. That was one of the findings of a study conducted by two groups at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio. Researchers looked at calls related to medication errors, some of which took place in Connecticut, over a period of 13 years that resulted in significant medical outcomes.

The errors impacted people of all ages and occurred among a wide range of medications. These incidents mostly took place at home or outside of a health care facility in general. Overall, there were 1.09 serious medication errors per 100,000 American residents in 2000. That number increased to 2.28 by 2012, and increases were seen among all age groups except for those under the age of six.

In that age group, error rates decreased after 2005, which was attributed to a drop in the use of cough and cold medication. This is attributed to a 2007 decision by the Food and Drug Administration to discourage children in this age group from taking such medications. Medication errors were most likely to be caused by a person either taking the wrong medication or taking the wrong dose in addition to either giving or taking medications twice.

A medication mistake could result in a patient spending time in a hospital, missing work or generally missing out on activities that he or she once enjoyed. The mistake could have been due to a pharmacist incorrectly filling a prescription or a doctor prescribing the wrong drug. If the error can be attributed to a health care professional, then patients who have been harmed might want to discuss their situations with a medical malpractice attorney.

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