7 percent of medication errors are caused by blood thinners

On Behalf of | May 30, 2013 | Medication Errors

The Annals of Pharmacotherapy has published new research that has found blood thinners are a reason about seven percent of hospital patients suffer from medication errors. The main reason for the use of blood thinners in all South Carolina hospitals is to prevent the formation of blood clots that can lead to a stroke or heart attack. Blood thinners will allow blood in veins and arteries to flow without blockage.

Medical personnel have the choice between two types of blood thinners. Anticoagulants used to reduce the time for clot formation by neutralizing some chemical reactions in the body. Antiplatelet drugs help to prevent the grouping together of blood cells that can lead to a clot. One way to limit the problems that result from prescribing the wrong medications when on a blood thinner is with new guidelines. A panel of health care experts have developed a new set of guidelines to prevent medication errors that include the access of electronic medical records for standard dosing.

The use of technology is the best way to help reduce many medication errors. This includes the use of a barcode scanner, infusion pumps that are programmable, and the knowing the range of dosage for a patient. If a hospital does not have this type of technology available, then a pharmacist can accompany doctors that do patient rounds. One frequent cause of medication errors is a lack of knowledge of a patient’s condition or current medication needs. This can easily be remedied by getting proper patient education. The safety of patients and reducing costs are two worthy goals that are not mutually exclusive.

Medication errors that are made by medical professionals can cause increased injury and even the death of patients. Patients prescribed the wrong medication when on a blood thinner can have a reaction that affects their health. The help of a medical malpractice lawyer is needed to assist patients when they choose to file a lawsuit.

Source: Medical News Today, “Blood Thinners Cause 7 Percent Of Medication Errors“, Joseph Nordqvist, May 22, 2013


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