When a patient is in the hospital, every aspect of their care is intended to be overseen by medical professionals. This includes the administration of medications, including those delivered intravenously. Unfortunately, even in this controlled setting, mistakes are relatively common.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports* that medication errors account for about a third of all hospital adverse events impacting about 2 million patients each year. These errors do not just extend hospital stays but can result in lifelong impact or even death.
In an effort to minimize medication errors, medical professionals generally follow the five rights of medication administration. They are:
- Right Patient – Is the patient the correct recipient for the medication being administered?
- Right Drug – Is the medication identical to the name of the medication prescribed? (Many drugs have a “sound alike” drug that is not the same.)
- Right Route – Is the medication being administered in the prescribed manner, i.e., in pill form v. intravenously?
- Right Time – Is the medication being given in the timeframe prescribed by the physician?
- Right Dose – Is the dosage correct? This includes the strength needed and identifying any potential misreading (micrograms vs. milligrams) or conversion errors (consider the impact a misplaced decimal could have).
If you or a loved one are the victim of a medication error in the hospital, it is important to understand what your options may be. We’re here to help. Contact us for a consultation.