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Eighth Leading Cause of Death in U.S.

Posted Dec 23 2008 9:14pm
This title caught my eye this morning and provided a moment of pause. Medication errors are the 8 th leading cause of death in the U.S. Something completely preventable has posed such a threat to human life that it has made the top ten list for killers and it isn’t even a disease. Many medication errors are never reported, and some errors are never even realized that they occurred.

Some stats about medication errors:
1.5 Million people inured annually
$3.5 Billion a year to treat drug related injures

How do medication errors occur? Providers are busy, not paying attention, prescriptions are not legible to pharmacy staff or other providers, and communications between providers is confused and misinterpreted. Any number of distractions while providers are obtaining medications for patients can cause errors. Drug names that sound the same. Not following the five rights of medication administration. There is a long list for why medication errors occur. The underlying theme is that people are not taking the time needed to be sure. Patients at home also make errors for the same reasons.

Source: Nursing News, The National Academics

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