On average hospitals make a mistake on your medication – once a day. Are you ok with this?

In July, Dan wrote a quick blog about the Institute of Medicine’s report on medication errors. In sum, IOM disclosed that 1.5 million Americans are harmed every-year by medication errors.

Are you ok with this? We are not talking about 1.5 million Americans who die of cancer because there is no cure – we are focusing on human mistakes, carlessness – purely preventable problems. Please check out the report: http://www.iom.edu/Object.File/Master/35/943/medication%20errors%20new.pdf
When all errors are taken into account, the report found that hospital patients can expect to be subject to at least one medication error a day. A DAY!

The report goes on to discuss how to improve and avoid medication errors. Their first suggestion, is that patients become more involved in their own care. When this is possible, I agree – but often times, elderly, nursing home residents, those with serious medical conditions cannot ask the nurse each time – “what med is that?” “who prescribed it?” “When did I take it last?” “what are the side effects?”

The second suggestion – was change the laws or policies. Well, as far as I know – there really aren’t laws about medication errors. Rather there is a civil justice system wherein families can demand compensation for mistakes. Lawsuits may be a good deterent for future errors – but wouldn’t technology, more nurses, better patient education – be more effective means of preventing mistakes?

Something to think about….

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Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at lellerman@frithlawfirm.com.