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How to avoid medication mistakes

Approximately 9,000 people die because of medication errors in the U.S. each year, according to...
Approximately 9,000 people die because of medication errors in the U.S. each year, according to Mayo Clinic.(KKCO/KJCT)
Published: Jan. 28, 2021 at 3:47 PM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - Medication mistakes can be a matter of life or death, but they happen everyday even here in the Grand Valley.

Approximately 9,000 people die because of medication errors in the U.S. each year, according to Mayo Clinic. While mistakes aren’t uncommon due to illegible handwritten orders, hospitals and physicians have always had to double check processes to ensure standard of care for patients.

With more technology Community Hospital has begun streamlining processes to put orders in electronically to avoid previous misinterpretations.

“If a patient thinks there is a mistake on their prescriptions whether it’s at the time they pick it up at the pharmacy then the first step is to talk to the pharmacist and double check. Throughout my career I’ve seen mistakes occur on every level of this and so that’s why we have and we continue to put in more safeguards to prevent those mistakes,” says Chief Medical Officer Thomas Tobin MD., Community Hospital.

Patients who believe there’s been a mistake should contact their pharmacist first. From there patients should then reach out to their doctors.

According to Thomas, it’s a three fold responsibility for doctors, pharmacists, and patients. Never consume any medication without asking questions first.

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