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The Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report in July finding that medication errors in clinics and hospitals harm at least 1.5 million patients each year. The report further found that, on average, hospital patients are exposed to more than one medication error per day! Preventing Medication Errors, IOM Natl. Acads., July 20, 2006. These statistics do not even inlcude errors where physicians fail to prescribe necessary medicine.
When you find yourself or a loved one hospitalized, you must be vigilant in protecting yourself from these errors. Always ask the nurse what medication is being administered and why.