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  4.  » Reducing the chance of medication errors and patient harm

Reducing the chance of medication errors and patient harm

If you are under the care of an Illinois doctor, you trust that medical professional to properly diagnose your medical condition and give you the care necessary to help you improve. This likely means taking certain types of medication. You may not question the medicine he or she prescribes to you, and you may not think that it could possibly cause you harm.

Medication errors are actually one of the most common types of medical errors. It may not seem like a grave mistake, like operating on the wrong body part, but this type of error can result in serious patient harm. It is one of the most important goals of a hospital, doctor’s office and other types of medical care facilities to reduce the chance of these types of mistakes happening.

How do they happen?

Medication errors can happen at various points during the health care process. The doctor can prescribe the wrong type or dosage of medication, or the pharmacist may fill the prescription incorrectly. Sometimes, a medication mistake happens when the patient receives the medicine. This is why it is important to have systems in place that double-check the medication and ensure the patient is getting the right dose.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gets around 100,000 reports involving medication errors each year. In order to reduce these events, the FDA recommends the following tips:

  • Names that are different enough from the names of other medications, reducing the chance of confusion
  • Using labels on medication labels to differentiate types of medicine and dosage strengths
  • Making sure patient information and prescription information is legible and easy to understand

Imprinting tablets and oral medications with identification codes is a step to preventing mix-ups. It can also help to include a syringe with appropriate dosage amounts to prevent the patient from taking the wrong amount. When making packaging, manufacturers should try and make it clear what the intended use of the medication is.

Victim of malpractice?

If you suffered harm because you got the wrong type or dosage of medication, you could be a victim of a type of medical malpractice. It may be helpful for you to seek the support of an experienced attorney as you work for a beneficial outcome to your case. A civil claim may be an appropriate way for you to pursue compensation and justice for your pain and suffering.


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