Although there are many types of medication errors that an Oklahoma patient could endure, consistency in medical standards and protocols can help in minimizing these situations. Pharmacies, for example, may use databases and alert systems to avoid dispensing medications that pose serious risks for a patient. Hospitals may use name tag verification to ensure that the correct medications are dispensed to patients. One area in which there are some inconsistencies is that involving intravenous and oral liquid medications, but the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists is working to standardize related practices in order to improve safety for patients.
In May 2016, the ASHP announced its initiative, Standardize 4 Safety, which will address IV and oral liquid medication issues in three phases. The first will focus on adults, the second on pediatric patients, and the third on analgesic medications delivered through patient interaction with an IV pump. There is a need to bring IV and oral medication administration into harmony from one setting to another.
Currently, emergency workers may use different concentrations than those in a surgery setting. ICU and emergency personnel may use still different concentrations. While these differences alone may not result in medical errors, a patient transitioning from one of these areas to another faces the potential for an error occurring as one infusion is stopped and another started. Programming mistakes in IV systems and with other medications are more likely with more changes.
It may be difficult for patients to recognize that a medication error has been made in their situation, especially if a health care worker is unwilling to listen to their complaints or concerns. If such an error later leads to a serious medical outcome that causes long-term problems, there could be grounds for a medical professional negligence claim. It may be helpful to document issues during a hospital stay so that there is a record of complaints and efforts to have a serious matter addressed.