Learning more about medicine safety

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more that 700,000 emergency room visits each year are attributed to adverse drug events. Because medication errors can result in severe consequences for patients, there are several steps that a health care practitioner in Arkansas must take before administering medication. First, anyone giving out medication must confirm the identity of the patient receiving it. This may be done by confirming the patient's name or date of birth.

After the patient's identity has been confirmed, it is time to confirm that he or she is getting the right medication. Medical professionals should be especially wary of giving medications that may have similar names to other medications. For instance, Adderall and Inderal sound similar but treat different conditions. Furthermore, it must be determined that the patient is receiving the correct dose of whatever medication he or she is receiving to ensure that it is administered in a safe manner.

Finally, it is critical that patients are given their medication at the right time and through the right route. In other words, if the directions say to take a medication orally, the patient should take it orally. Collectively, these are known as the five rights of medication administration, and they should be known and understood by all medical professionals.

If a patient does not get the medication that is needed or does not receive it in a timely manner, it could be seen as an act of hospital negligence if the patient's condition worsens or if the patient is otherwise harmed. In such an event, a medical malpractice attorney might be of assistance in seeking compensation from the health care practitioner or facitlity for the damages that have been incurred.

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Dodds, Kidd, Ryan & Rowan
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