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There has been a number of errors that have occurred in the past in terms of the prescription of drugs. Some have led to injuries while more serious cases have caused the death of patients. This paper is going to look at one of those cases where patients were given an overdose of a pain reliever, morphine oral solution. It will also look at the effects of the incident on nursing in general.
Morphine oral solution which is manufactured by Roxane laboratories was the basis of the article “a pain reliever that has killed”. It is meant to deal with pain but it has led to injuries and even deaths in more serious cases. A hospital misread its dosage leading to an overdose by a number of patients. The pain reliever was available in three different concentrations of 100 mg per 5 ml, 20 mg per 5 ml and 10 mg per 5 ml. The overdose occurred after milliliters were confused for milligrams due to the nature of labeling. Roxane laboratories consequently changed the labeling to emphasize on the dosage and prevent medical practitioners and pharmacists from prescribing an overdose in patient (Morgolin, “Articles and information about medication errors”). One of the effects of this incident is that it will make drug manufacturers make sure that all or at least most drugs are effectively labeled to avoid confusion. It will also cause nurses and any other parties entitled to prescribe drugs are keen on their duty. The error will affect nursing in that there will be policies put in place to ensure that all procedures regarding safe prescription, monitoring, and handling of medication are followed by nurses. More emphasis will be placed on nurse training to ensure that they are well informed about these procedures. Nurses will also be made to use medication reference books while making prescriptions to be certain that prescription of drugs is properly done. New nurses will be monitored more closely to ensure that they do not give any erroneous prescriptions. Medical laws will be put in place for stiff penalties to be imposed on nurses who are reckless in their cause of duty in terms of prescribing and monitoring the use of drugs by patients (Daniels, 746).
Individual nursing organizations will have standards of care for their medication procedures to minimize the risk of medication errors. Doses should not be transferred from one container to another as the labeling on the two containers might be different thereby causing errors in prescription. Nurses should be expected to conduct a follow-up on patients to ensure that they do not negatively affect them. Medications with different concentrations should be stored in separate places in order to avoid confusion when giving prescriptions. Nurses should make sure they understand the medication usage guides that are present in most of the medications. This should minimize the risk of the wrong dosage.
Although nurses are not entirely to blame for medication errors, they are the ones expected to be most careful as they are the middlemen between patients and drug manufacturers. Although manufacturers have the duty of ensuring that drugs are properly labeled, nurses should not be tempted to make assumptions where some of the statements are unclear. In such a case, they should consult where they are not sure about the prescription. There should also be policies that emphasize on safe labeling of drugs.
Daniels, Rick. Nursing fundamentals: caring & clinical decision making. Australia Clifton Park, NY: Delmar Learning, 2004. Print.
Morgolin, Kenneth. “Articles and information about medication errors”. mederrorlaw.com, 2011.