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Jul
10

Med Error

We’ve all made them. And if you haven’t, you will.

Hopefully that sad truth is no longer true. But that’s what they told us in nursing school.

Hopefully your hospital system has put in enough safety checks to prevent most errors from ever reaching the patient’s bedside. Hopefully you have electronic records and scanners. But no system is foolproof.

Unfortunately my hospital is a little behind the times as far as technology is concerned. And obviously no human is foolproof either.

I made my first error this week, and it’s a crappy feeling. Somehow the pharmacy didn’t catch a duplication error through their automated system or through their human double-checks. Somehow the night shift nurse who signed off the MAR (med administration record) against the orders didn’t catch it either.

But the buck stops with the administering nurse, and that was me. I should have noticed it.

I can come up with excuse after excuse. The doctor happened to be present at the time, irritated as hell about the patient’s pending transfer, so I was a bit verklempt about the whole situation.

Would I have caught it under normal circumstances? Who knows. But I know my brain was firing in all sorts of directions at the time that I was checking the meds.

But it doesn’t matter because I messed up. The worst part is, the patient was gone by the time we realized what had happened, so I couldn’t follow up and make sure he was okay. I sure hope he is.

Have you made a med error? What safety checks are in place at your hospital? Do you think it’s enough?

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