Podcast # 431: Medication Errors - The Emergency Medical Minute

Author: Rachel Brady, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • Medication errors are estimated to be the 3rd leading cause of death
  • A 2016 study estimated 250,000 errors occur per year, with 7000-9000 leading to death
  • About 50% are in the ordering/prescribing phase; 25-30% during administration phase.
  • Overworked and distracted providers are the most common underlying reasons for medication error
  • A 2017 study found 40% of ED nurses witnessed a medication error in the last year

Editor’s Note:  This is a reasonable counterpoint


Farag A, Blegen M, Gedney-Lose A, Lose D, Perkhounkova Y. Voluntary Medication Error Reporting by ED Nurses: Examining the Association With Work Environment and Social Capital. J Emerg Nurs. 2017 May;43(3):246-254. doi: 10.1016/j.jen.2016.10.015. Epub 2017 Mar 28. PubMed PMID: 28359712.

Makary MA, Daniel M. Medical error-the third leading cause of death in the US. BMJ. 2016 May 3;353:i2139. doi: 10.1136/bmj.i2139. PubMed PMID: 27143499.

Summarized by Travis Barlock, MS4 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD

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