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Medication Errors

Study after study shows the frequency of medical errors.  However, a recent study by the Institute of Medicine brought to light the alarming rate of medication errors.  According to the study, medication errors affect more than 1.5 million Americans annually, killing thousands.  The rate of error was particularly surprising in hospitals.  The report found that “when all types of errors are taken into account, a hospital patient can expect on average to be subjected to more than one medication error each day.”  The report found that the annual economic cost of these hospital errors exceeds $3.5 billion annually.

Fortunately, the Institute suggests some fairly painless steps that can help prevent errors, including (1) maintaining a list of medications that you take; (2) making sure you really understand the risks of the medication you take; and (3) make sure you know the reason you are taking each medication.

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