Medication Errors and Medical Negligence: 6 Facts You Should Know (Pt. 2)
September 15, 2014
Picking up from where Medication Errors and Medical Negligence: 6 Facts You Should Know (Pt. 1) left off, here, we will resume our discussion of the prevalence and impacts of medication errors in the U.S.
Fact 3 – The incidence of medication errors is projected to increase in the coming years.
According to the Medication Safety Program (a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC), the incidence of adverse drug events and medication errors is expected to increase in the near future due to a combination of:
- An increasing number of new medications being available on the market
- The likely expansion of uses for currently available medications
- The aging of the Baby Boomers
- The trend of prescribing medications as a part of disease prevention (rather than simply for treating conditions that already exist)
- Insurers broadening their coverage of prescription medications.
All of these factors ultimately seem to point to the fact that more and more people will likely be taking more prescription medications in the near future, opening up the possibility for an increasing number of medication errors to occur in the U.S.
Fact 4 – Medical professionals’ fatigue is a significant issue and risk factor contributing to medication errors.
Fatigue and sleep deprivation are inherently associated with reductions in vigilance, information processing, the ability to make good decisions and memory. With nurses and other medical professionals often working long hours (both in a single shift and with the high incidence of double shifts), the risks that fatigue will contribute to medication errors are substantially high.
What can be just as distressing as the link between fatigue – an entirely preventable factor – and the incidence of medication errors in clinic and hospital settings is that fact that fatigue also impacts medical professionals’ abilities to:
- Recognize the physical symptoms patients may develop after being exposed to medication errors
- Promptly and properly respond to such symptoms to minimize the impacts of medication errors on patients.
Look for our final installment of this blog series for some more important info about medication errors in the U.S.
Portland Medical Malpractice Lawyers at the Savage Law Firm
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