Common medication errors may prove fatal

Medical facilities have grown accustomed to medication errors because they frequently happen. Although these incidents may range from the wrong dosage to administering the medication at the wrong time, they must never be taken lightly.

Even though a study by Harvard University found that just 1 in 100 medication errors at hospitals lead to patient harm, medical facilities must have safeguards in place to prevent mistakes. For example, hospitals need better-trained staff, enough staff members to accommodate patients and assurances that pharmacies provide the correct drugs.

Wrong dosage, wrong route

Another study revealed that 20% of the time, patients receive incorrect medication doses. In addition, the majority of these errors were due to providing the drugs at the wrong time. Among the common medication errors that occur in hospitals include:

  • Administered at the wrong time: When administered correctly by medical staff, an effective amount of medication goes into a person’s body. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), failure to take medication as prescribed leads to annual deaths of 125,000.
  • The wrong dosage: Complications such as seizures, organ failure and loss of life may surface from a medication overdose.
  • The wrong drug: Not only will the wrong medication prove ineffective, but it also may lead to dangerous complications such as stroke, heart failure, internal organ failure and death.
  • Administered through the wrong route: This refers to the method in which medical staff administer the medication. This may take place intravenously, under the skin, through the muscle, into the spinal cord or orally. When performed incorrectly, patients may experience long-term health complications and even death.

The chances of health complications due to medication errors may be slight, but they still exist.

A lifetime of complications

When you or a loved one seek medical care at a hospital, you expect competent treatment from competent staff who have a firm understanding of medications. However, sometimes, that may not always happen, leading to complications that may be with you for a lifetime.

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