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Can patients be completely safe from medication errors?

Hospitals and medical clinics in Georgia are just as susceptible to medication errors are those throughout the rest of the country. A medication error occurs when a patient is given the wrong medication or the wrong dosage of a medication by a medical professional. Because patients often rely on pharmacists, doctors and nurses to provide the correct medication, they may not know to watch for a problem.

According to the Mayo Clinic, medication errors are most commonly caused by the following:

  •          Medications that look similar
  •          Drug names that sound similar
  •          Poor communication between the doctor and the patient
  •          Poor communication between the doctors in charge of treatment
  •          Medical abbreviations

The National Center for Biotechnology Information has completed studies showing that lapses and slips are common unsafe acts, while deliberate violations and knowledge-based mistakes were also a serious problem in medical facilities. When medications are taken incorrectly, they can lead to serious injury or even death, making it very important that patients are aware of how to avoid these problems.

Knowledge is the ideal defense when it comes to healthcare. Patients should remember that they can ask questions about any diagnosis or treatment they receive.

When a person starts a new medication, they should know the generic or brand name of the medication, what it should do, what the dose is and what to do if a dose is missed. If a patient accidentally takes an extra dose, they should be informed about what to do, what drinks, activities, foods and other medications to avoid and of any possible side effects that may occur. This information can help to head off any serious injuries caused by medication errors early.

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