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What can I do to prevent medication errors?

Most medical professionals are highly educated and able to treat their patients with competence. This is great news for Floridians who are injured or ill. Yet, because there are so many skilled medical professionals out there, we lull ourselves into a false sense of security. Tragically, there are many doctors and nurses who make medical mistakes, whether in the form of misdiagnosis, surgical slipup, or medication error.

For this reason, Floridians need to be proactive in their healthcare, particularly when it comes to their medication. Each year in our country, hundreds of thousands of individuals are harmed by medication errors. The causes of these preventable events can often be attributed to poor communication and medication names and abbreviations that sound and look similar. Those who fail to take steps to protect themselves may be left susceptible to negligent medical professionals, which could result in significant physical, financial, and emotional harm.

One thing Floridians can do to protect themselves is ask questions when they don’t understand something. Far too many of us think the doctor knows best, but they might not. Always seek clarification for medication to be used, other drugs to be avoided, and dosage amount and frequency. Also, it can be beneficial to tell one’s doctor about all medications being taken, any existing allergies, and whether any chronic health problems exist.

Though we all hope that proactive patients and well-educated and well-trained medical professionals would eliminate medication errors, these events continue to occur. Those who have suffered a worsened medical condition or another type of harm caused by a doctor’s negligence may have trouble getting past the event. Taking legal action may be able to provide closure and compensation.

Source: The Mayo Clinic, “Medication errors: Cut your risk with these tips,” accessed on June 24, 2016

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