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….