It is a frightening thought that going to the hospital can actually endanger someone. Unfortunately, for many in New York and around the country, it is true. Among the many mistakes that could be made in a hospital setting, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports that medication errors are among the most common. There are a number of ways this happens, including the following:
- A machine that administers medication to a patient could malfunction.
- A physician confuses two drugs with similar sounding names but different chemical properties.
- Medical staff personnel fail to heed drug allergy warnings.
- The wrong dosage of a drug is given to a patient.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that an adverse drug event causes about 700,000 people to seek emergency medical care every year.
The National Institutes of Health published a study that found patients who had negative reactions to drug suffer further illness and have longer hospital stays. According to the report, approximately one in seven patients in a hospital setting had a negative reaction to a drug.
There are several ways that experts recommend the incidence rate of medication errors could be lowered. For example, using digital records could help to eliminate the human error involved. Additionally, researchers from the NIH study suggested that a pharmacist could make rounds to patients in hospitals.
Hospital staff must take every precaution when prescribing and administering medications. While patients can take steps to protect themselves, such as alerting doctors to drug allergies, the onus is on medical professionals to ensure any medications are used correctly and safely.