4 Things to You Need to Do If You Commit a Medical Error

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Do you know how to safely handle and administer medication? Most practitioners who administer wrong dosages lack pharmacological knowledge.

There are many types of medical errors that health practitioners can make. According to research, the most common one happens to be dosage errors. A 2009 study on medication errors indicated that over 60% of nurses made medication errors, with the most common ones being dosage and infusion errors.

Most of these errors occurred because nurses used abbreviations in the place of full drug names or because of drugs that had been labelled with similar names. A dosage error occurs when someone administers the wrong amount of medicine, medicine at the wrong frequency, or both.

Other types of medical errors include failure to give antacids, water, or food to patients; wrong preparation of medicine, and giving patients the correct medicine.

Avoiding Medication Errors

If you work in the healthcare field, you should do your best to avoid medication errors because:

  • You could get arrested for wrongful handling

Wrongful handling of medicine can get you on the wrong side of the law. According to the Medicine’s Act, some prescription-only drugs can only be administered by a qualified professional.

Violation of the provisions of the act can lead to imprisonment.

If you intend to practice in any capacity in the healthcare sector, getting the best online medication training is crucial. Not only will you get an understanding of the legal issues regarding the safe administration of medicines, but you will also gain skills that can prove life-saving for patients.

  • You will save lives

The National Health Service (NHS) reported over 200 million medication errors and more than 22,000 deaths every year as a result of the same.

When, for example, you give a patient the wrong medication, you risk them reacting to the strange drug. Even in the absence of reactions, the wrong drug can interact with the other drugs in the patient’s system, making helpful drugs ineffective.

The reacting drugs can also synergize each other, which can put the patient’s life at risk.

The patient missing the correct drug may also experience withdrawal symptoms which can worsen their existing condition or lead to death.

Overmedication or under-medication can lead to serious problems including organ failure, toxic substance accumulation, and over-reliance on medicine.

  • You will save your job

 Although you can only get laid off for malicious and intentional wrongful handling of medicine, you should still be very careful. Sometimes, proving that your error was unintended can prove difficult.

However, even with all the right precautions, errors can still occur and you need to address them in time. What should you do when you realize that you have made a medication error?

  1. Inform the patient’s relatives

You may think that reporting a case of medication error to the patient’s relatives is almost a guarantee for a lawsuit, but most times it is the opposite. You will gain more trust if you speak rather than keeping mum. Furthermore, it is your ethical duty to let patients know of any clinical oversights.

  1. Inform the healthcare team involved

Anyone in the health system who is involved in taking care of the affected patient should also know. That will prevent the patient from getting any further medicines that could cause harm until the medical error is resolved.

  1. Document the medical error and report to the relevant department

Documenting the error is a critical step to take. It allows every other medic to handle the patient to consider the new developments first. That will ensure that nothing is done to further aggravate the patient’s condition.

  1. Forgive yourself and learn

Some medical errors can be fatal. As an emotional human being, your first reaction will probably be to lose your confidence and get consumed by guilt. Instead of dwelling on it, learn to forgive yourself and learn from your mistake.

Always double-check the facts before administering any kind of medicine.

Another thing you can strive to avoid when administering drugs is interruptions. You can minimize interruptions by having ‘do not disturb’ signs, designating ‘no interruption zones,’ allowing people to leave you a note instead of calling, among other ways.

Final Words

When a patient visits a health facility, they are putting their lives into your hands. Safeguarding patient health should, therefore, be a priority.

Medication errors have driven many health practitioners to feelings of guilt because such mistakes can turn tragic. Learning the best practices in drug handling and administration can help reduce errors and save lives.

While doing your best, some medical errors may inevitable because we are all human. If you notice that you have wrongfully administered medicine, it is best to report the case so that measures can be taken to save a patient’s life.

Emily Stuart Author

Emily Stuart is an experienced and independent content writer for some popular online communities.

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