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Medication errors are more common than you think

Your focus is likely on recovery when you’re laying in that hospital bed. After all, it’s difficult to get back to work, play with your children or play a round of golf from your hospital room. That means placing your trust in your medical caregivers to give you the proper medication in the correct doses to get back on your feet.

What may surprise you is just how common medication errors are in Iowa and across the country. A 2013 study revealed that nearly two-thirds of the nurses involved had committed a medical error at some point in their career. Of those, just one-half caught the error before it happened. It’s believed that these errors are most often attributable to nurses because they handle most of the medical order workload.

Consequently, this becomes a numbers game rather than an indictment of the ability of nurses. Of course the people who handle the medical orders most are often are likely going to have the most instances of medical errors.

Medication errors cause harm

One of the greatest sources of medical complications is medical errors. Complications from things like receiving the wrong dosage can extend your hospital stay until the symptoms subside. Not only can these complications result in death or further injury, an extended stay in the hospital can increase your bill by thousands.

The most common errors and how they happen

Giving the wrong dosage or giving two doses at once comprises almost 40 percent of all medication errors. Similarly, giving the wrong medication infusion with an IV accounts for 32 percent of all medication errors. Receiving the wrong dosage is not only dangerous but likely more common than you know.

There are a couple of reasons for these errors given in the study. The use of acronyms and drugs that have similar names accounted for nearly three-fourths of all errors. Nurses surveyed said that the main reasons for administering the wrong dosage is a lack of awareness for the error and a poor nurse-to-patient ration.

You should be able to trust your healthcare provider

Hospitals can reduce medical errors with improved labeling of medications and a properly trained nursing staff. Ensuring that hospitals have enough staff so that nurses don’t have too many patients to treat could also help. You shouldn’t have to pay the price for a healthcare provider’s preventable mistakes.