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How can people avoid medication errors on their own?

People on Providence and throughout the rest of the United States place a lot of faith in the ability of both the medications they take and the providers that prescribe them. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 82 percent of American adults frequently take at least one medication.  Medication errors are inevitable with that size of a patient population. However, there are steps patients can take to help avoid such mishaps on their own.

The first step in safeguarding oneself against medication errors is understanding that providers themselves are prone to mistakes. That understanding can encourage one to become a more active participant in his or her own care. With that encouragement, sticking to the following steps often becomes much easier: 

  • One should always catalog the medications that he or she is currently taking. This information should include the dosage strength, dosage frequency, the name of the doctor who prescribed it, and the pharmacy from which it came. The physical appearance of each pill or tablet should also be described. Any changes in medication should prompt an immediate update of this catalog.
  • The purpose of every medication taken should be known prior to taking it. Thus, one should ask his or her doctor the reason for prescribing it and what results should be seen after taking it.
  • In the hospital, assumptions are often made by medical staff regarding what medications should be given. People should never assume that providers are automatically aware of their medication history. Thus, a complete list of the current medications one is taking, as well as any allergies one was to a particular med should be shared immediately upon arrival at the hospital.

Staying vigilant against medication errors on one’s own helps to more easily determine liability if and when complications do occur.  

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Providence Personal Injury Office

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Providence, RI 02903

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