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Medication errors pose serious problem for Oregon patients


Taking prescription medication is a daily occurrence for many Oregonians. Whether picking up medication from a pharmacy or getting it directly from a doctor or hospital, most people never question the accuracy of the dosage or type of medication they are being given. The unfortunate truth is that medication errors happen on a regular basis. A large part of this problem involves hospital staff negligence and administration errors.

Hospitals have systems set up in an attempt to prevent these easily made errors. Even being off by a decimal point when writing a prescription can cause serious patient injuries or even death. Despite the extensive systems in place to prevent these mistakes, it is estimated that one million medication errors happen each year. These mistakes result in an estimated 7,000 deaths per year. To put these numbers in a different perspective, this equates to an average of one medication error each day for every inpatient in a medical facility.

Many of these medication errors could be prevented if hospitals would fully adopt a new computerized technology called “computerized physician order entry.” Adoption of this technology has been very slow, although research shows that medication errors drop by up to 85% with full implementation of the technology. Protection of patients against these deadly medication errors is vital. However, even with a hypothetical full implementation of the technology in hospitals throughout the country, medication errors would still occur.

Serious and fatal injuries can happen when patients are administered improper dosages or given the wrong medication altogether. Victims of this type of medical malpractice often have recourse against the negligent medical professionals responsible for the mistake. A lawsuit can help victims recover compensation for the injuries they have suffered as a result of medical malpractice and medication errors.

Source: Forbes, “The Shocking Truth About Medication Errors,” Leah Binder, Sept. 3, 2013