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Patients can help prevent medication errors in hospitals

You should do your best to take medications as directed. But when you enter a hospital for treatment, then the responsibility for making sure you receive the proper medications is in the hands of the doctors and medical staff.

But even though you may be relegated to the role of patient, there are some things you can do to help ensure you are getting the right medicines. The Institute for Safe Medication Practices has some suggestions for patients looking to make sure they receive proper medications during their hospital stays.

First, when going to the hospital, bring your medications along with a list of the medications. Let your doctor see the medications and then have a family member take them home for you. Have the doctor fully itemize any medication he or she will be having you take. Find out the names of the medications and the reasons they are being prescribed.

Examine all medications prior to taking them. If a drug does not appear familiar to you, make sure it is a drug you should be taking. Medical staff should always check your ID bracelet prior to giving you any drugs. This helps ensure that you aren't given another patient's medication.

When you are checking out of the hospital, have one of the medical professionals tell you and a member of your family about each medication you will be taking. Make the appropriate changes to the list you brought from home.

You can assert some oversight regarding your medications while you are in a hospital. However, the primary responsibility resides with your doctor and the hospital's staff. Medication mistakes can yield serious or even fatal results.

If you or a family member are injured due to what you believe was negligence on behalf of a doctor or hospital staff member, a Montana medical malpractice attorney could investigate the case. You may be eligible for compensation owing to medical malpractice.

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