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When is the most likely time for medication errors to take place?

Medication errors are a serious concern in the medical community; they can be simple enough to correct without a problem, but they can also lead to severe disabilities or the deaths of patients. One estimate reported that in any given week, at least four out of five people in the U.S. use prescription medications. Considering how many different prescriptions are isused, it's not surprising that mistakes are made.

Unfortunately, mistakes are dangerous to patients and can't be allowed to happen. People who are affected by them have the right to file a claim to seek compensation for the damage the error has caused. Adverse drug events refer to injuries that are either a result of the medication itself, like harmful side effects, or taking the wrong medications due to inaccurate prescribing.In the case of inaccurate prescribing, those injuries can be prevented. When do these errors happen, though? Unfortunately, they can happen at any point during the process, from when the medication is manufactured to when it's prescribed, dispensed or administered. Errors can even be made by a medical team when they're treating a patient who may be reacting to a drug.

One estimate has suggested that there are at least 380,000 preventable ADEs in hospitals around the country every year. Another stated that the accurate number was 450,000. Still another, which also looked at long-term care facilities, claims there are over 800,000 preventable incidents. With such a variance, it's clear to see that it's an area of medicine that still has problems that need to be addressed for patient safety.

Source: National Academies, "Preventing Medication Errors," accessed March 31, 2016

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