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Reducing medication errors by EMS personnel

Working in a fast-paced environment with access to little information, New Mexico paramedics and other EMS workers have to make decisions quickly. However, this may lead to errors or witnessing others making errors that could be prevented. With job aides and standardized checklists, it may be possible to reduce the number of errors that occur. It is important to understand that anyone could possibly make an error as the human element is one that no one can completely avoid.

Today, EMS workers are required to know medical protocols and calculate medical dosages in their head. Research has shown that requiring mental calculations is an easy way to make errors in the field. In addition, medications that sound the same as or similar to other medications or come in similar packaging make it more likely that the wrong medication or dosage will be administered.

To further reduce the odds of a mistake, first responders and others are encouraged to ask questions if they are unsure of anything. They are also encouraged to report any adverse events or other flaws in the system to create a safer and more effective environment. Doing so can help to create a culture of safety that preserves patients rights and cuts down on medication errors.

Being given the wrong medication or the wrong dosage can lead to severe harm. The victim's medical condition could be significantly worsened, requiring additional and expensive medical care and treatment. If the practitioner was negligent in so doing, an attorney for such a victim could seek compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit.

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