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Hospitals need to prevent medication errors

Medication errors can cause serious complications and even death. Despite the devastating impact of medication mistakes, they continue to happen in hospitals across the country. 

Medication mistakes contribute to roughly 7,000 fatalities every year, according to recent reports. Why do medication errors happen so often? Medication errors can happen for a variety of reasons. However, the Food and Drug Administration said they are most likely caused by confusion over dosing units, bad handwriting and drugs sounding similar. 

Hospitals are responsible for providing accurate and safe medications to their patients. More hospitals are trying to address the risks of medication errors and take steps to prevent them. In fact, one hospital has even started hiring more pharamacists to try to prevent medication errors.

A hospital has started using emergency pharmacists to review all medication orders before they are given to patients. The pharmacists will review the order to make sure the medication is correct, doesn't interact with any other drugs the patient is receiving as well as make sure the patient isn't allergic to the drugs and that the dosage is correct.

Hiring full-time pharmacists to review all medication orders can be expensive, which is why more hospitals haven't started to use this strategy as part of their patient safety efforts. However, there are other ways to increase patient safety and reduce mistakes. 

Other hospitals should be looking into different ways to prevent medication errors as they can cause serious complications and death. Hospitals are responsible for making sure their patients receive the proper medication. When they don't, patients may suffer and their lives may be at risk.

Source: KNAU, "Hospitals Put Pharmacists In The ER To Cut Medication Errors," Lauren Silverman, June 9, 2014

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