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Medication errors, and their most common factors

Residents of Arizona who rely on medication to address a condition may be concerned about the prevalence of medication errors. A 2016 study from Johns Hopkins University has found that more than 250,000 Americans die from medication errors every year. Despite the fact that digital technology simplifies the record-keeping process, healthcare professionals are liable to make errors, all of which are preventable.

Proper record keeping is key to preventing medication errors. If the patient has a drug allergy or a chronic health condition, these should be noted. Every drug administration, including data like its dosage and route, must be recorded. Nurses are advised to create a flow sheet to attach to a patient's chart so that the staff member for the next shift will know what prior actions took place.

When patients display a negative reaction to a drug, or when their condition worsens, this should always be recorded. Nurses should also be aware of when a drug is discontinued; otherwise, they will need to crosscheck the patient's chart with the doctor's orders. Above all, nurses should be careful not to mix up the permanent records of patients who share the same doctor, room, condition, or name. Even a relatively minor issue like a record written in an illegible hand can lead to bigger issues.

There are clear policies in place that guide healthcare professionals when keeping patients' records. Going against these policies, or failing to check up on an apparent breach of a policy, can lead to the accusation of hospital negligence. Victims injured through medication errors may be able to determine if they have a valid case by consulting with an attorney. Attorneys might request an inquiry with the state medical board and bring in their own third-party experts to show that the doctor was negligent. If successful, the victim may be reimbursed for medical bills and other losses.

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Law Offices of Raymond J. Slomski, P.C.

2929 North Central Avenue Suite 700 Phoenix, AZ 85012 Phone: 602-635-7603 Fax: 602-230-8707 Phoenix Law Office Map