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Inaccurate weight estimates can lead to medication errors


Medication can play a vital role in an individual's health plan. While many Floridians take their medication without much thought, the reality of the matter is that there must be some precise calculations made in order to ensure that a medication is effective and safe when taken. Any slipup with regards to these calculations can lead to devastating consequences for a patient, potentially causing him or her serious injuries or death.

One piece of information that medical professionals need to get right to ensure medication safety is a patient's weight. It may sound simple enough, but patient weights are often estimated by doctors and nurses, particularly when a patient is rushed into the emergency room and cannot, due to immobility or time, move to a scale and/or cannot communicate. So why is this important? Because medication dosages are based on a patient's weight. When that weight is miscalculated, then the dosage may be way too much or too little.

Some in the medical field are looking to remedy the problem. They say that standardization, increased access to equipment, and pharmacy review can help curtail these medication errors. Yet, even these systems are not failsafe. And for those who have been hurt by medication errors based on inaccurate weight estimates and dosing, any changes are too little, too late.

This is where the legal system may be able to step in and help spur change and provide relief to injured patients. Those who have been hurt by medical malpractice can choose to file a lawsuit which, if successful, may not only bring them compensation for their damages, but may also push the medical field to make the drastic changes needed to prevent these errors from continuing to harm innocent individuals.

Source: ECRI Institute, "Medication Safety: Inaccurate Patient Weight Can Cause Dosing Errors," accessed on Aug. 7 2015

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