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What Can You Do to Help Prevent Medication Errors

What can you do to help prevent medication errors? If this is something you want to know, it is most likely because you have been injured as a result of a medication error.

As incredible as it may sound, about 1.3 million people are harmed by what are known as medication errors each year in the United States. The National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention says medical errors are, “any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the health care professional, patient, or consumer…related to professional practice, health care products, procedures, and systems, including prescribing; order communication; product labeling, packaging, and nomenclature; compounding; dispensing; distribution; administration; education; monitoring; and use.”

Help you


Your rightful expectation when you get a prescription for medication from your doctor is that the medication is going to help you, not harm you. You certainly do not expect that medication to be the reason why you have to go to the hospital.

The tragic fact is that medication errors can be fatal. During the period from 1993 to 1998, almost 50% of all fatal medication errors happened to people who were over the age of 60.

People who are over the age of 60 are at the highest risk for being harmed as a result of medication errors. One of the main reasons for this is because seniors are the ones most likely to be taking several prescription medications.

With all this in mind, “Are there things you can do to help prevent medication errors?” The answer is, “Yes.” There are things you can do.

All the names


One thing you can do to help prevent medication errors is whenever your doctor prescribes a new medication, always tell your doctor the names of all of the dietary and herbal supplements, prescription and nonprescription medications you are already taking. This can help prevent problems that are caused by medications adversely interacting with either a supplement or another medication you are currently taking.

Another thing you can do to help prevent medication errors is to ask your doctor questions about any new prescription that is being prescribed for you. You should ask your doctor things like, “What is this medication for? What will it do? Why do I need it? What will it do for me?”

How to store


You need to be sure you know how to take the medication and what the right dosage is. In addition, you need to know how to store and keep the medication and any special instructions concerning the medication.

Medication errors often occur in hospitals. If you are in the hospital, ask for the name of any medication that is being given to you, and why it is being given to you. If you are unable to do this, have a loved one or relative do this for you.

If you believe you were injured as a result of medication errors, the wise thing to do is to contact a personal injury attorney and have your case evaluated at no cost or obligation to you. You may be entitled to compensation for the injury you have suffered.

Article written by James Shugart

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