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3 common causes of medication errors

There may come a time in your life when you need medication to manage your health. The doctors and medical professionals you trust to provide that care in Charleston are human. Mistakes happen. But when those mistakes involve the mismanagement of medication, that can leave you feeling alarmed and apprehensive about your situation. Medication errors can cause health problems, long-term suffering and death. Taking some time to learn about their causes can help you avoid the potential complications.

1. Lack of communication

Hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and other facilities where medication administration is necessary are busy places. Doctors and nurses often have heavy caseloads that require them to see numerous patients each day. This can lead to distraction and little to no communication between workers regarding their patients and medication needs. Before you accept any medication, ask your nurse or doctor to confirm your name, birthdate and health condition. They should also inform you of why you are receiving it.

2. Staff burnout and similar names

Many healthcare workers work long hours and experience fatigue and a lower level of alertness. Also, many medications have similar names but drastically different effects. These factors make it easy for medical staff to rush and administer the wrong medications to their patients. This is easily avoidable if workers double-check medication orders, the medical histories of their patients and the names on the labels. If you cannot ask your medical care provider to confirm that you are receiving the right medications, have a close relative or friend speak for you, and always carry a list of your medications.

3. Inadequate training

Some medical workers lack sufficient training. They do not have the required knowledge or skills to administer medications safely. Yet many professionals do not let their lack of knowledge, expertise and credentials stop them from performing these duties. It may not be easy for you to recognize when your nurse is not qualified to give you medication. However, if you are uncomfortable or feel that your healthcare provider is not handling your medication properly, you should inform the administrator and request another employee to attend to your needs.

Not all medication errors are obvious. You should pay close attention to your body after receiving your doses and document any symptoms and changes you experience. You should also learn about the medications you need so you can better identify when you receive the wrong type or dose. If you believe you or a loved one had problems due to receiving the wrong medication, contact an attorney to discuss your situation.