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This article from the June/July issue hit a real hot spot with me. The article states that nationally mediction errors are made in 1/3 of hospital admissions. This is a travesty that very well could have disastrous consequences.
My experience says the numbers are actually probably much worse. My guess is that many of these errors go totally unnoticed. Unfortunately, due to some fairly serious medical issues, I've been hospitalized at 3 different hospitals (all of them rated very highly nationally) approximately 20 times in the last 4 1/2 yrs. I can't remember once during those visits when my medicines were given correctly until we had gone through multiple corrections. Granted, I do take a lot of meds, anywhere from 15 to 55 pills per day during that time frame.
For that reason, I provide a typed list (now an Excel spreadsheet) of all my meds including dosages, time of day when taken, and any special needs. I also go over the list very carefully with the hospital personnel before and after it is entered into their computer systems. I still get incorrect dosages, new medicines that have not been explained, and missed medications. Sometimes, these errors have little or no consequences. Some of them, however, have had potentially very damaging consequences. I can't tell you how frustrating this has gotten to be. I now require that I approve any changes to my medications so I can be sure that I need what is given to me and there is good reason for not taking a skipped med. Almost always, these are simply errors by the doctors and/or the pharmacy.
Recently, i visited with both the head of pharmacy operations and the director of medicines at the hospital where i am most frequently admitted for about 45 minutes each. Both seemed genuinely concerned once they learned the scope and seriousness of this problem and are working hard to correct it. I wish them luck. This seems to be a nearly impossible task.
Bottom line, I encourage everyone to take charge of making sure you receive the proper medications. The best doctors and nurses actually appreciate when you become actively involved with your care. Ultimately, you are the one responsible for what goes into your body.