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Study looks at common medication errors

People in Illinois who are prescribed opioids might be more vulnerable to medication-related errors. According to a study by the insurer Coverys, almost one-quarter of medication liability claims involved opioids. Among overall liability claims, medication errors were in fourth place after claims related to diagnosis, surgery and medical management. Coverys also named anticoagulants as potentially dangerous and accounting for 16 percent of claims.

The analysis identified several ways that prescribing and providing medication could be made safer. It named the points at which mistakes were most likely to happen as being during ordering and medication management. Errors in prescribing medication and in reconciliation were among the most common.

According to Coverys, the heaviest and smallest patients as well as the youngest and oldest are at the greatest risk of a medication error. It is important for health care providers to be aware of the special doses needed for these types of patients. The company found that interventions needed support from the top. Furthermore, the report pointed out that as the use of anticoagulants and opioids grows, complications may increase as well.

Medication errors may happen at many different points during the process. A prescribing physician, a nurse administering medication or a pharmacist filling a prescription might all be responsible for an error. A person who pursues a claim of medical malpractice will need to demonstrate that a reasonable standard of care was not provided and that harm occurred as a result of the error. In some situations, a medical provider may offer an out-of-court settlement. A person who has been harmed by a medication error or whose loved one has suffered harm as a result of such an error might want to talk to an attorney about how to proceed.

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