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Jack Sisson's Life Ethics Blog

We must find new ways through many ethical issues, especially regarding bioethics, medical ethics, and criminal justice. Jack Sisson's 'Life Ethics' blog focuses on numerous areas of concern, including the philosophical and ethical dilemmas surrounding stem-cell research, abortion, medical research, and health care.

 


Great Britain is beginning to recognize a problem with errors in prescription drugs. Patients there and in the U.S. need to be vigilant in checking their medications. We cannot afford to blindly trust that our doctor or pharmacist will not make a mistake. They are human and they DO make mistakes. Know your own medicines.


From The Telegraph: 



A unique study into prescribing errors by GPs found mistakes such as wrong dosages, lack of instructions and insufficient monitoring of patients on dangerous drugs were 'common'.
Elderly and young children are twice as likely to be given a prescription with an error because the over 75s are often on several drugs and the correct dose can be difficult to calculate in youngsters because it is usually based on body weight, the study found.
Time pressures during GP consultations are thought to be to blame along with complex computer software that makes it easy to select the wrong drug or incorrect dose from drop-down menus and frequent distractions and interruptions.
Several GPs said practice nurses who are responsible for managing some long-term conditions often asked them to sign prescriptions without seeing the patient and this made them 'uneasy' and also interrupted them during clinic meaning they may make mistakes themselves.
Also repeat prescriptions were often issued without questioning if the patient still needed the medicine, or if superior ones were available and results from separate clinics were often not relayed to the GP meaning drug doses were not adjusted, it was found.
Human error and not a lack of understanding or knowledge was behind most mistakes, the study said.
Extending the average GP consultation from 13 minutes to 15 and better training in safety would help, lead author, Prof Tony Avery, of Nottingham University, said.
Pharmacists and GP receptionists can also help by carrying out medicine reviews and checking monitoring arrangements.
Errors classed as severe included, a 62-year-old woman with a documented allergy to penicillin who was prescribed flucloxacillin, a similar drug, and elderly patients prescribed blood thinner warfarin, who should have been closely monitored but who were not tested for two years.
Moderate errors included a four-year-old girl with a stomach upset who was prescribed a drug that should be used 'with caution' in children.
Minor errors found in the study included a one-year-old girl who was given two prescriptions for antibiotics in the same consultation but with different doses stipulated.
Human error and not a lack of understanding or knowledge was behind most mistakes, the study said.
Extending the average GP consultation from 13 minutes to 15 and better training in safety would help, lead author, Prof Tony Avery, of Nottingham University, said.
Pharmacists and GP receptionists can also help by carrying out medicine reviews and checking monitoring arrangements.
Errors classed as severe included, a 62-year-old woman with a documented allergy to penicillin who was prescribed flucloxacillin, a similar drug, and elderly patients prescribed blood thinner warfarin, who should have been closely monitored but who were not tested for two years.
Moderate errors included a four-year-old girl with a stomach upset who was prescribed a drug that should be used 'with caution' in children.
Minor errors found in the study included a one-year-old girl who was given two prescriptions for antibiotics in the same consultation but with different doses stipulated.

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