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Hospitals slow to implement technology to prevent medication errors

Many doctors in Queens County don't realize that a small medication error can have detrimental consequences for their patients. For example, if a medical professional wrote a prescription for their patient to take 10.0 mg of Colchicine, instead of 1.0 mg, this small decimal error might cause their patient to suffer from Colchicine poisoning, which could lead to their death within 24 to 72 hours of taking the dosage.

Why hospitals won't make the change

Unfortunately, minor medication errors like this are not uncommon. According to the Huffington Post, it is estimated that medical professionals make about 1 million medication errors each year and these mistakes contribute to 7,000 deaths on an annual basis.

One of the best ways to prevent medication errors is for a hospital to implement a computerized physician order entry system at their location. These technological systems have access to patient information and are able to automatically check the safety of a new prescription order for a patient. According to the Huffington Post, research indicates that the use of a CPOE system could reduce the number of medication errors in a hospital by 85 percent.

However, many hospitals are slow to adopt this technology for one main reason: they can usually put the blame and the cost of the error on the patient that took the medication.

What consumers can do

The lack of helpful technological systems in hospitals is problematic because of the number of Americans that take medications on a regular basis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 82 percent of Americans take at least one medication and 29 percent take more than five. The CDC also reports that the numbers of adverse drug events are expected to rise due to:

  • The discovery of new medications.
  • Ways for older medications to be used in different ways.
  • The increase in the number of elderly Americans.
  • Medications being used as a successful way to prevent diseases.
  • Increased medical coverage for prescription medications.

To prevent medication errors, patients can be proactive in their approach to taking medications. If you are taking a medication, make sure that you know exactly what it is for and any harmful side effects that could occur due to its consumption. Talk to your doctor about when you are supposed to take it and question your doctor if he is not clear in his directions.

Unfortunately, even the most diligent individuals that take medications are still at risk for being a victim of a medication error. If your doctor failed to write you a correct prescription or made a mistake on a dosage amount that is causing you severe health complications, contact an attorney that can provide you with legal assistance.

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