Thursday, April 14, 2011

Drug Errors on the Rise - NYTimes.com

The number of people treated in hospitals in the United States for problems related to medication errors has surged more than 50 percent in recent years.

In 2008, 1.9 million people became ill or injured from medication side effects or because they took or were given the wrong type or dose of medication, compared with 1.2 million injured in 2004, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Although several national reports in recent years have sounded the alarm about the toll of medication errors, the latest data show the problem continues to persist. The A.H.R.Q. data measure only patients treated in the hospital or emergency department as a result of a medication error. The data don’t distinguish between prescribing, dispensing or consumer errors. Some of the errors resulted from a physician prescribing the wrong drug or dose; others occurred because a pharmacist or nurse gave the wrong drug, or because a patient at home used the wrong type or dose of medication.

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