Medication errors happen probably more often than you think. In fact,
according to the Food and Drug Administration, medication errors kill one person per day in the United States and injure
more than 1.3 million people each year.
Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) began a new initiative to
change this statistic for the better.
According to a statement released March 29th, the WHO will take steps to reduce medication-associated
harm worldwide by 50% over the next five years.
"The Challenge calls on countries to take early priority action to
address these key factors," the statement says, "including medicines
with a high risk of harm if used improperly; patients who take multiple
medications for different diseases and conditions; and patients going
through transitions of care, in order to reduce medication errors and
harm to patients."
One reason why medication errors are so common is that they can occur at
so many points of contact. For instance:
- A computer system error delivers the wrong drug to the wrong patient.
- A pharmacy miscue causes inaccurate dosing of a blood clotting medicine.
- A doctor fails to read a patient’s chart carefully and then prescribes
a dangerously contraindicated experimental drug therapy.
The WHO wants to improve each stage of the medication process, including
prescribing, dispensing, administering, monitoring and use.
While this initiative is highly encouraging, ultimately we must all take
personal responsibility for our own safety. Here are some tips to protect
against medication errors:
Always double-check your prescription with your doctor. Repeat the recommended dosage back to him or her to make sure it is correct.
Double-check your prescription at the pharmacy. Compare the dosage instructions and the prescription strength with the
prescription itself. Tell the pharmacist if you see any irregularities.
If you or a loved one receives professional care, make sure the nurse is
aware of the proper dosage. Remember that anyone who handles the medication can make a mistake.
- Talk to your doctor immediately if you experience any negative reactions
or side effects.
To learn more about preventing medication errors, please
check out this post.
D.C. medical malpractice attorneys can provide important insight and assistance in the event of medication-related
harm. Call us today for a free consultation.