Could a drug error happen before or after surgery? Absolutely

Are you scheduled for surgery in the near future? Are you concerned about the procedure, but realize that it's essential for your health?

You're sure to have many questions on your mind, but you also know that you have to put your faith in your medical team in order to get your health back in order.

It's easy to believe that your medical team, which includes a pharmacist, will make all the right decisions on your behalf.

Here are 10 system elements that require accuracy in order to prevent a medication error before or after a surgical procedure (or at any other time, for that matter):

  • Patient information, including things such as diagnosis, allergies, height and weight
  • Drug information
  • Communication, as all members of your medical team must be on the same page
  • Drug labeling and packaging
  • Drug standardization, distribution and storage
  • Medication delivery and use
  • Environmental factors
  • Staff education, knowledge and experience
  • Patient education
  • The use of risk management and quality control processes

Is prevention possible?

It goes without saying that your medical team doesn't set out to make a mistake. Even so, these continue to happen often as the result of simple oversights. Prevention is possible through the detection of factors most commonly associated with adverse events. These can include:

  • Failure to detect a potential drug interaction
  • Failure to detect an allergy
  • Failure to prescribe the correct dose based on medical condition, age, weight and other related factors
  • Failure to monitor the reaction to the drug

There is no surefire way to prevent every potential drug error, but there are steps all medical professionals must take, regardless of setting, to decrease the risk.

A drug error can happen when you least expect it, such as after a surgery when you may not be able to pay close attention to everything your medical team is prescribing.

If you find yourself dealing with the aftermath of a drug error, make sure you consult with a medical professional who can pinpoint the impact and help you recover. Also, learn more about your legal rights, as you may be able to hold the negligent party responsible.

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