Archive March 2013 XIV, No. 3

Think You Can't Make Medication Errors?

Check out these actual breaches in drug safety and security for a dose of reality.

Leroy Kromis

BIO

medication errors CAREFUL READ Confirm a drug's name, strength or dosage, expiration date and expiration time before administering it.

Are you reading these words thinking a medication error won't happen on your watch because you're good at what you do and can't possibly make mistakes? I know someone like you. Several years ago, a 16-year veteran nurse with exemplary job performance ratings accidentally injected a patient with insulin instead of heparin because the syringes happened to be sitting next to each other. Later, she broke down in my office. "I didn't think I was capable of making that error," she said between sobs. "I discounted the possibility every time I read about similar incidents." Take it from me, errors and oversights can in fact happen to you.

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