Hospitals Put Pharmacists In The ER To Cut Medication Errors
In the emergency department at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, pharmacists who specialize in emergency medicine review each medication to make sure it’s the right one in the right dose.
It’s part of the hospital’s efforts to cut down on medication errors and dangerous drug interactions, which contribute to more than 7,000 deaths across the country each year.
Medication errors can be caused by something as simple as bad handwriting, confusion between drugs with similar names, poor packaging design or confusion between metric or other dosing units, according to the Food and Drug Administration. But they’re often due to a combination of factors, which makes them harder to prevent.
At Children’s in Dallas, there are 10 full-time emergency pharmacists, more than anywhere else in the country, and they are on call 24 hours a day. The pharmacists provide a vital safety net, according to Dr. Rustin Morse, chief quality officer and a pediatric ER physician.