Patients in Oregon rely on their health care providers including nurses, doctors and CNAs to diagnose and treat medical ailments and injuries but there are times when mistakes are made, and patients suffer the cost. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, medication errors occur close to 100,000 times each year. This is a startling statistic for many individuals who rely on the knowledge and experience of medical health professionals when it comes to medication and dosage.
Medication errors can lead to serious harmful conditions such as birth defects, disabilities, hospitalizations, life threatening situations and even death. These errors are common in several situations:
- When a drug is entered into the computer system
- When the drug is prescribed
- When the drug is dispensed or prepared
- When the drug is given to or taken by a patient
While the Federal Drug Administration looks for ways to eliminate medication errors, the American Academy of Family Physicians encourage professionals to use best practices to avoid these errors. These include obtaining accurate patient and drug information, communicating openly with patients in the office, labeling and storing drugs correctly, using appropriate drug devices and educating patients about the medicines they are taking.
The conclusion reached by the organization suggests that with a few low-cost, simple system changes, many medication errors can be avoided. As systems are standardized and simplified, patients are safer and receive better medical care, and financial costs decrease. While entities work to decrease medication errors, anyone who has been given the wrong medication and had adverse effects may benefit from speaking to an attorney.