Archive for the ‘Medication Errors’ Category

Does Your Doctor Phone it In?

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Earlier this month asked pharmacists in the area if they had ever experienced problems when a doctor called in a prescription from a cell phone. More than 40% of pharmacists reported that they had experienced such problems and believe that the possibility of a medical error resulting exists.

Some of the problems cited by doctors using cell phones, particularly on weekends and after hours, included:

  • Difficulty hearing especially when the physician was in a noisy place.
  • Dropped calls.
  • Doctors calling in prescriptions without access to patient records and, thus, being unable to answer important questions about patient weight, drug allergies, etc.
  • Less documentation of prescriptions in the patient’s medical record.
  • Trouble verifying that the call is a doctor legally authorized to prescribe medicine.

As a patient, it is important to always double check your prescription when you pick it up and to ask questions of the pharmacist, and your doctor, if you have any questions or concerns.

Two Medication Overdoses Reported at St. Lukes

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Last week the Pennsylvania Department of Health reported that two patients at St. Luke’s had been overdosed with infusion pumps by nurses at the facility. These alleged overdoses come shortly after staff had been retrained because of an infusion pump overdose last fall.

St. Luke’s University Health Network has issued a statement saying that two patients did receive overdoses of medication. One of the patients experienced a critical drop in blood pressure and reportedly responded
to additional medication provided to combat the blood pressure drop. The other patient recovered from the medication mistake within a few hours, according to reports.

We wish everyone injured by these alleged medication errors a fast and complete recovery.

Is Your Doctor Unduly Influenced by Drug Companies?

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Currently, it is permissible for a doctor to be paid by a pharmaceutical company when the doctor prescribes that company’s drug to a patient. Some patients worry that this potential conflict of interest could lead a doctor to prescribe a medication that benefits the doctor and may not be the best drug for the patient.

It is important to know that doctors owe their patients a duty of care. Your doctor has a legal responsibility to exercise due care when treating you and that includes recommending the proper prescriptions for you without consideration of his or her own potential financial gain. To do otherwise may be medical malpractice in Pennsylvania.

If you are concerned about the appropriateness of your own prescription drugs then it is important to seek a second, independent opinion from another doctor.

92 to 0 – What Pennsylvania Hospitals Can Learn From a Minnesota Hospital

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices has given its 13th annual Cheers award to the Hennepin County Medical Center for a change in practice that dramatically decreased its patient discharge medication error rate.

A few years ago some hospital discharge medication mistakes were discovered which led the hospital’s pharmacy services director to do a random check of patient discharge medication instructions. The pharmacy found that there were mistakes in 92% of the checks they did.

However, in less than a year the hospital was able to turn that statistic around and now has a hospital discharge medication error rate that is essentially zero. They were able to accomplish this simply by having a pharmacist check discharge orders before a patient was released from the hospital. In this way pharmacists were able to catch mistakes and able to help prevent patients leaving the hospital with the wrong medications.

Would you support Pennsylvania hospitals taking similar measures? Do you think it could help prevent Pennsylvania medication errors?

Drug Safety After Hospital Discharge

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

A hospital discharge is often a celebrated day when the patient, and the patient’s family, looks forward to returning home.  However, it can also be a confusing day as care for the patient, including the dispensing of medication, is transferred from hospital staff to the patient and his or her caregivers.

Research indicates that a significant percentage of people have issues after hospital discharges and that adverse drug reactions is one of the most common problems.  It may be possible to minimize potentially adverse drug reactions with good communication and clear discharge orders before you even leave the hospital.  A doctor, nurse, or pharmacist should review your current medications with you and describe what drug, and how much of each drug, to take and when to take it. You should be provided with a phone number to call in case you have questions and you should be told about potential side effects to watch for and what to do if they occur.

If you are not provided with the proper information to take your prescription drugs safely then serious medical problems may occur at home and any side effects should be immediately reported to your physicians.