Patient Safety Tips: Reducing the Risk of Medication Errors

As a patient, it’s only natural to assume that you will be adequately cared for by every health care provider who serves you. Unfortunately, negligence in the medical world is all too common. One of the most dangerous forms of medical negligence is also one of the most common—medication errors. Here are a few tips to help you protect yourself from medication mistakes.

Get as much information as possible.

Don’t be afraid to ask any questions about your new medications that may come to mind. Make sure you know both the brand and the generic name of the medication, what you should do if you miss a dose, and whether there are any side effects that you should be aware of. Also, make sure that you have a phone number to call if you have any additional questions.

Follow the directions exactly.

When you get a new medication, you’ll need to have your doctor or a pharmacist explain to you how you are supposed to take it. This means you’ll need to know when and how often to take it, whether you need to take it on an empty stomach, what foods and drinks you need to avoid while taking it, and whether it is safe to take it in combination with other medicines or supplements.  Enlist the help of your pharmacist to make sure all the medications you are taking are compatible.

Find out how to store your medications.
It’s important that you know how to keep your medications so that they remain both safe for you to take and as effective as they are meant to be. Some medications will need to be kept at room temperature, but others may need to be refrigerated. Make sure that you know the expiration date of your medications, and dispose of them when appropriate.

Ask About Side Effects
Ask your doctor your doctor and pharmacist what the possible side effects are and what to look out for. If you experience a side effect call your doctor before taking any additional doses. Life-threatening reactions can present as a rash, therefore you must be aware of any changes in your body when starting new medications

If you are concerned about a misdiagnosis or possible medical error, contact the law firm of Pegalis & Erickson, LLC, in New York. For 45 years, we have advocated for people of all ages, in order to help our clients financially and make healthcare safer for everyone. You can reach us today by calling (516) 684-2900.

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