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Medication mistakes are on the rise

Pharmaceuticals and other medical interventions have eradicated diseases and are helping Americans lead happier, healthier lives every day. However, the increasing rate of medication comes with the price of more mistakes made by patients, caregivers and medical professionals.

The rate of serious mistakes made with medication has doubled in less than 20 years, according a new study co-authored by an Ohio research scientist. Most mistakes of any kind are not included in this study but Nichole Hodges with the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, believes reality may be worse than the findings.

More than 1.5 million drug accidents are reported to poison control centers every year at present -- an average of one every 21 seconds. The good news is that medication problems are on the decline for children under the age of 6.

Most incidents involve taking the wrong medication, taking it twice by accident or ingesting the wrong dosage. Few of these mistakes result in death, but a majority of the fatal accidents involve a combination of heart medication and painkillers. Hormone therapy such as insulin accounted for another tenth of overall errors.

Individuals taking medications and their caregivers must be prepared to dispense them properly. Hodges recommends daily pill planners and requesting easy identification for drug capsules and containers.

Negligence on the part of a medical professional, such as a doctor or pharmacist, may be actionable under federal and Ohio law. Victims of these medication errors may be eligible for reimbursement for medical expense and compensation for lost wages or other disadvantages recognized by the court.

Source:, "Medication mistakes are on the rise, leading to more serious health problems," Alan Mozes, accessed Aug. 11, 2017

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