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Medication errors may improve with pharmacists' help

Errors can occur in any area of medical practice. One quite common area for errors to occur is with the prescription and administration of medications. Not surprisingly, emergency room departments are places where medication errors are not uncommon. Because mistakes in this area can sometimes have serious ramifications, it is in the interest of hospitals to address the issue.

One way hospitals can do this, according to a recent report by NPR, is to have pharmacists available in emergency room departments. The report pointed out that the Children’s Medical Center in Dallas has had success in preventing medication errors by having pharmacists review all medication requests prior to dispensing and administering the medication. The challenge for hospitals is finding the funds to ensure such oversight. 

The number of patients affected by medication errors every year is not negligible. Nationwide, over 7,000 deaths per year are due in part to medication errors. Errors can be related to the prescription itself, the way the drug is administered, or the dosage. The latter is quite common.

Not every instance where a medication error occurs can lead to a viable medical malpractice lawsuit. Medical malpractice litigation, first of all, must be supported by serious injury that would make it worth the time and effort to pursue such litigation. The physician at issue in the case must also have breached an established standard of care. Patients who have been seriously harmed because of a medication error should contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney to have their case evaluated and determine the best way to obtain compensation.

Source: Fierce Healthcare, “Medication errors drop thanks to pharmacists in the emergency department,” Zack Budryk, June 9, 2014.NPR, “Hospitals Put Pharmacists In The ER To Cut Medication Errors,” Lauren Silverman, June 9, 2014. 

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