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Study: Medication error rate unchanged after 10 years

While the medical industry continues to advance and certain careers become more specialized, there is not an amount of training and education that will completely rid the occupation of errors and mistakes. While this may be due to the fact that doctors and surgeons are humans, thus subject to human errors, patients could also be harmed by pure negligence. Thus, when medical errors do harm a patient, it is imperative to understand how the event occurred and who was responsible. Being aware of this could help with holding that medical professional accountable and with the collection of compensation.

While changes have been made to reduce the risks and dangers of medical mistakes, some of these errors maintain a concerning rate of occurrence. A current 10-year analysis of medication errors reveals that these medical errors continue to represent a significant risk to patients. Despite the myriad of changes made to reduce the rate of these errors, the rate of medication errors, which was at 12 percent in 2003, continued to occur at the same rate in 2012.

Even raised awareness, technology advances and money put forth to improve the medication process did not make a difference in this 10-year span. The volume of prescription drugs in the market is tremendous. Every year, billions of inpatient and outpatient prescription drug orders are made. And because 100 million Americans are recorded as taking four or more medications regularly, there is a huge potential for errors to enter this process. In fact, the medication writing, fulfillment and administering process is a minefield for providers.

There is a vast array of medication errors, and the result of these mistakes can look very different from one event to the next. This could look like being prescribed the wrong medication, being prescribed the wrong dose, having the wrong medicine filled, errors in the directions printed on the medication packaging or having a medication improperly administered. Based on this recent study, they found three categories of medication errors that accounted for almost half of all medication errors. These involved analgesic, anticoagulants and antibiotics. And in 37 percent of these cases, it was found that these errors occurred in the medication monitoring and management phase.

An injured patient should understand that they have legal recourses available. A medical malpractice claim could help them hold a negligent medical provider accountable while also helping them recover compensation for their losses.

Source: Kevinmd.com, "Medication errors haven't gone away," Jock Hoffman, June 29, 2017

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