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Shapiro, Lewis, Appleton & Favaloro
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Wrong Drug, Wrong Dosage – Medication Errors in Hospitals Can Kill

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Every year approximately 100,000 people are given the wrong medication from a medical professional. Being given the wrong medication can lead to other medical problems and complications simply as a result of negligence. Patients are being given the wrong medication and wrong dosage in every medical profession setting, including hospitals, nursing homes, in home care, and pharmacies.

There are many accidents and mistakes that can happen in medication delivery. Wrong medication can take the form of incorrect prescriptions, improper dosage, medication given to one patient when it should have been given to another, and patients taking medicine that has adverse reactions to other medicines and preexisting conditions the patient may have. These accidents can cause serious medical problems and injury.

In the medical profession there are certain rules that nurses and doctors are supposed to follow in drug administration. They include seeing that the right medication is given, to the right person, in the right dosage, through the right route, at the right time. This is commonly referred as the “5 R’s”. Taking these precautionary steps, the doctors and nurses can ensure that the medication is delivered properly and safely. However, if these standards of care are not adhered to then the medical professional can be held liable for damages, harms, and losses caused by the medical malpractice.

There are steps you can take to protect yourself from medical mistakes involving medication. First you should always ask the name of the drug, and correct dosage, so that you can double check that against what the pharmacist or nurse is administering to you. Take care that you know when and how the drug should be taken, and make your doctor aware of any current conditions or medications you are taking.

When receiving treatment and medication you should never worry that you are asking too many questions as it is your health that is on the line. If you are unsure about a detail of your treatment, clarify it before proceeding. As always, staying informed is staying safe.