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Taking Your Future Into Your Own Hands: Patient Safety

Recently, it seems like you can’t read a newspaper or turn on the news without hearing another story about some sort of medical error.  These errors range from dosing mistakes to IV drug contamination and everything in between.  In light of this apparent rash of hospital negligence, it is important to think about what you, as a patient, can do to protect yourself.

One of the most effective ways to protect yourself is to limit the number of prescription medications you are taking.  Drugs are the most common intervention in the healthcare industry.  Thus, it follows that if you reduce the number of drugs you are taking, you can reduce your chances of falling victim to medical mistakes such as dosage errors or harmful drug interactions.

A pharmacist can’t incorrectly dose a medication that you aren’t taking.  You also reduce your risk of harmful drug interactions when you reduce the number drugs you are taking. This is particularly important for elderly patients.  When elderly patients present with various symptoms and complaints, some doctors incorrectly default to prescribing drugs, regardless of whether they are necessary or helpful. Be your own best advocate by questioning the reason and necessity for any new prescriptions.

You can also reduce the risk of dosing errors by asking your medical providers how they calculate doses.  There are new computer programs that have automated and standardized drug preparation and administration processes. See if your doctors are using this technology, or if they are still trying to perform dosing math in their heads.

Unfortunately, medical errors can happen to even the most vigilant patients.  If you have been the victim of a medical error, contact an experienced Atlanta law firm that specializes in these types of cases to counsel you on all possible legal remedies.