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Rise in serious medication errors

Jul 14, 2017 | Medication Errors

New York residents may be interested in a report indicating a considerable increase in serious medication errors outside of the hospital setting. The problem is especially serious for caregivers and children, and it is important for anyone taking or dispensing medication to keep in mind some guidelines to reducing the possibility of an error.

Researchers found that there was a 100 percent increase in medication errors from 2000 to 2012. Painkillers, cardiovascular drugs and hormone-related drugs were most commonly related to errors. The errors often had serious consequences, including hospitalizations and fatalities.

Problems with medication mistakes were especially common among caregivers and their children due to the extra complications associated with managing the medication of multiple individuals. The most common mistakes involved giving the wrong medication, giving the incorrect dose, or giving multiple doses due to improper record keeping. One of the study’s authors recommended that parents or caregivers keep a written log of medications, including the time of day and the dosage.

Medication errors outside of hospitals are not always the fault of the person giving or taking the medication. Some faults and issues can be traced back to the hospital or pharmacy dispensing the medication in the first place. Dosage instructions on medication may not be entirely clear, or they may even be written incorrectly. The doctor or pharmacist may also fail to disclose important information about the medication and dosage instructions, and this information may not be easy to find or understand on the packaging. A patient who has been harmed by such a dosage mistake might want to meet with a medical malpractice attorney to see what recourse might be available.