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MCLEAN, VA, September 22, 2010 /24-7PressRelease/ -- A new study published in the Journal of General Medicine shows that in communities with teaching hospitals there is a significant and annual peak in fatal medication errors during the month of July, the month when new med students take on more active roles in patient care.
The study looked at over 244,000 death certificates issued in the US between 1979 and 2006 where the cause of death was linked to medication error. The study found a spike of 10% in medication-error-related deaths during July, the only month where such spikes were seen. Furthermore, the spike in medication-error related deaths occurred only in counties with a teaching hospital. The types of drug errors tracked by the study include: accidental overdose, wrong drug given or taken, drug taken inadvertently, and improper use of drugs in medical and surgical procedures.
The study's authors recommended three steps to reduce this spike in deaths:
- Re-evaluate responsibilities assigned to new residents
- Increase supervision of new residents
- Increase education related to medication safety
"The three steps that Dr. Phillips has suggested are important to reduce errors and consequently death due to medication errors. However, it is extremely important to incorporate the pharmacist's role in this process as often pharmacists are forgotten to be included in order to minimize and prevent medication errors. As a board certified pharmacotherapist and clinical pharmacist, I recommend the pharmacist's involvement in patient care such as: medication order review and evaluation for correct medication, dose, frequency, and interactions. In addition, medications should not be administered to patients unless they are verified and authorized by a pharmacist. Of course, there are emergency situations in which the attending physician would override the pharmacist's verification process," states Dr. Sanaz D. Hamrah, Pharm.D., BCPS.
The study was performed by sociology professor David Phillips and student Gwendolyn Barker from the University of California, San Diego, and are published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
About Nova Surgicare
The Nova Surgicare Center for Oral and Facial Rejuvenation offers advanced oral and cosmetic surgery. From its McLean, Virginia location it serves patients from the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and Northern Virginia. Surgeon Dr. Daria Hamrah is certified by the Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and the National Dental Board of Anesthesiology. Oral surgeries he performs include reconstructive and corrective jaw surgery, periodontal surgery, and placement of dental implants. Cosmetic surgeries offered include facelift, rhinoplasty, and blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery).
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