The Prevention of adverse drug events (ADE)

In the past, we’ve discussed common adverse drug events (ADE) and the risk factors associated with them. While these ADEs can represent serious harm for patients, there are several steps that numerous medical professionals can take to ensure the health and safety of those under their inpatient or out-patient care.

What can be done to prevent an ADE?

ADE can refer to a broad array of events ranging from an allergic reaction to two medications that interact in a negative way. Through the course of diagnosis, prescribing and dispensing the medication, a wide variety of errors can lead to serious complications and deadly consequences.

There are numerous actions that can be taken to protect patients, including:

  • Ordering: Based on the diagnosis and accurate patient history, the clinician must take care to prescribe the appropriate medication. In addition, the clinician must note instructions regarding dosage, frequency and duration.
  • Transcription: Proper note-taking is essential in maintaining a high standard of care. If the doctor’s instructions are incorrectly transcribed, the patient can suffer in the future.
  • Dispensing: Not only must the pharmacist dispense the proper medication in the proper dosage, but the medication must be given to the correct patient with the correct instructions. Any error at any stage of this process could be deadly for either inpatient or out-patient care.
  • Administration: While mostly relating to inpatient care, the administration of the proper medication in the proper dosage to the proper patient at the proper time falls to the nurses and other trained staff. Giving the incorrect medication or an incorrect dosage can lead to disease or a worsening condition.

With all of these protections in place, it is unfortunate that errors still occur. It is not uncommon for patients to be given the wrong medication, doctors’ orders to be misinterpreted or a nursing home staff to get confused while handing out pills. If you or a loved one suffered an injury or illness related to an adverse drug event, it is crucial that you contact a skilled medical malpractice attorney at once. Based on the error, you might be entitled to receive monetary compensation from those responsible.

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