Hospitals are obligated to provide the correct medicine to the right patient, in the proper dose, for the right reason. Nonetheless, medication errors in hospitals are ubiquitous—a patient will likely endure, on average, at least one medication error every day. At least 1.5 million medication errors occur every year in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and outpatient clinics,and each day as many as 120 patients die in hospitals as a result. If you are handling a medication error case, you first need to know how hospital medication systems work and why mistakes occur.
A medication error is defined as “any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the health care profes- sional, patient, or consumer.” These errors happen for various reasons, but almost all are the result of systemic failures in the medical facility. When adverse events occur, hospitals use a root cause analysis to identify a problem’s origin. You should follow a similar process in a medication error case.