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Drug Error Prevention May Be Lacking in Hospitals, Nursing Homes
Impaired, undertrained or simply inattentive nurses are not the only health care providers endangering patients. Statistics published in 2006 show that over a nine-month period, 9,272 medication errors occurred in North Carolina nursing homes. Not every potentially harmful prescription actually reached a patient, but prescribing and administration errors involved hydrocodone, fentanyl and lorazepam.
The issue of medication errors takes on greater significance during July, when often-inexperienced new staff come on board in hospital, nursing homes, walk-in clinics and neighborhood pharmacies have fewer people working.
My colleagues and I have seen time and time again how the wrong drug for the wrong patient can lead to loss of life or irreversible injury. Every member of a family--and society in general--depends on skilled, competent nursing care, and it is inexcusable when a facility fails to monitor a nurse and ensure that each nurse is competent, much less showing warning signs of personal prescription drug abuse.