Strategies for Preventing Medication Errors By Nursing Staff

medication errors at seattle hospitals1. Nursing staff need to double check "high-alert drugs" dosages before administration of the medication. Note: High-alert drugs are those medications that have an increased risk of causing harm to patients when used in error.

2. Nursing staff members need to take time out between rechecking medications. It has been found that healthcare professionals are more likely to find their own errors when there is pause or brief break between their rechecks / double check.

3. Nursing tag teams. Have one nurse read what is on the medication package or dose and have the other nurse check it against the doctor's order. Then reverse the process allowing each nurse to double check the other.

4. Avoid specific abbreviations that have been frequently mistaken and caused medical errors in the past. Such confusing symbols or abbreviations should never be used.
     a. Example #1: "qd" for a daily order can be misinterpreted for "qid," which would quadruple the dose.
     b. Example #2: Another error-prone abbreviation would be to use "U" for a unit. U has sometimes been misinterpreted as a zero, causing an overdose of 10 times the amount of medication that was intended for a patient.

Medication errors and perscription overdoses are a larger problem in Western Washing than is generally reported in the media.  If you or a loved one has been the victim of a medication error in the Seattle area contact medical malpractice attorney Chris Davis at Davis Law Group to schedule a free legal consultation. Call 206-727-4000.

Our office frequently receives calls from the victims of drug over dose or medication errors in top notch hospitals such as Harborview Medical Center, Swedish Hospital, Virginia Mason and Seattle Children's Hospital.
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