Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Simple steps by medical staff can avoid medication errors

The Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority voiced concerns about medical mistakes that only come to the attention of doctors after it is too late. Specifically, medication errors are one of the chief complaints when it comes to doctor' errors and medical mistakes.

A large number of medication errors occurred when a patient was taking their own medication while in a medical facility. It is particularly disturbing that close to a quarter of such errors involved what are referred to as high-alert medications.

Some of the more common medications involved in such errors included Ocycodone, a controlled substance, and insulin. Surprisingly, errors occurring where patients take their own medicines happen frequently in small communities. This may be in part because such communities do not have the funding to monitor how patients are taking such medications.

There are likely a number of steps that doctors and hospitals can take to prevent such errors from occurring to begin with. It involves hospitals following a safety protocol, and has some sort of record system that can communicate a patient's use of specific medications. This could include both the labeling of medication, and a notification system indicating there was a review of medications by a pharmacist or other trained professional before medications are dispatched.

Attorneys that handle medical malpractice cases understand the role that miscommunications and poor record keeping play in medical errors. This is particularly true when it comes to medication errors. It is remarkable just how many errors come about when simple protocol is not followed, or information is not communicated clearly.

Source: Med City News, "11 ways healthcare providers can avoid medication errors," by Stephanie Baum, Sep. 6, 2012

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