December 2001

Guard against Medication Errors
Medication errors are a leading cause of death and illness. You can ask some key questions to avoid becoming a statistic.

Oscar was retired and admitted to the hospital for prostate cancer. One complication was frequent urinary tract infections. He did well and was discharged on an antibiotic.

He repeatedly told the staff he was allergic to Cipro (ciprofloxacin). It was listed on his medical record, but the discharging physician did not note the allergy and gave him a prescription for Cipro.

Oscar filled the prescription not realizing it was Cipro. Adding insult to injury, he had no medication benefit so he had to pay for the medication himself.

He started taking the medication and developed a rash. His doctor said to discontinue the medication. A new prescription was ordered.

In this example, the provider was responsible for the error, but the patient paid the price. We need to take action and become watchdogs for our health care.

Doctors and pharmacists can give us important information about our medications. Always ask both the doctor and pharmacist the following questions:

  • Since I am allergic to (name the medications you are allergic to), will I be allergic to this medicine too?
  • Is there any food or medicine I should not take with this drug?
  • Are there any side effects I can expect?

Health Care Answers uses stories of real people trying to take care of their health. Tell us your story. The stories we use in our publications are from people like you. The purpose of these true stories is to help others learn how to use the medical system more effectively. Click here if you want to submit a story.

Check back next month for more Personal Stories.

Past Stories 2000

Past Stories 2001
January  |  February  |  March  |  April  |  May  |  June  |  July  |  August  |  September  |  October  |  November  |  December

Past Stories 2002
January  |  February  |  March  |  April  |  May  |  Summer  |  September

Past Stories 2003
Winter  |  Spring


Health Care Answers is a Minority Business Enterprise Certification Number DOT MBE 02-003, Federal Identification Number 52-2216087

We subscribe to the HONcode principles of the Health On the Net Foundation

We subscribe to the HONcode principles of the
Health On the Net Foundation
Last Updated May 2003
© October 2000 Health Care Answers   Funding Statement  |  Disclaimer  |  Privacy Policy