A recent study was published indicating that most abbreviations used to indicate short- versus long-acting medications were not correctly understood by study participants, according to the National Institutes for Health.
Some participants incorrectly interpreted some abbreviations as indicating the opposite release rate. For example, participants interpreted “ER” as meaning “emergency release”, rather than “extended release”, with incorrect classification as a short-acting medication. This is a serious misinterpretation that could have life-threatening consequences for a patient.
The Virginia Injury Lawyer’s Perspective:
This study is extremely distressing since many pharmaceutical companies and hospitals use a variety of abbreviations to denote short- and long-acting medications. The results show that these abbreviations could be contributing the preventable injuries from overmedication or prescribing the incorrect medication to a patient. This provides the injured patient with grounds to file a medical malpractice action against the at-fault party. Though, this study shows that these types of medication injuries are preventable through reforming the abbreviation system.
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