Medication Errors Cause One Death Every Day and 1.3 million Injuries annually in the US

How Common Are Medical Errors? Does Medication Kill People?

A News Release by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 17, 2017, states the fact that, “Medication errors cause at least one death every day and injure approximately 1.3 million people annually in the United States of America alone.” Their press release announces an initiative to reduce that number by half within the next five years.

Medication Errors Cause One Death Every Day and 1.3 million Injuries annually in the US-AUstin-Tx-Chiropractor-Natural-Healthcare-Spine-Nervous-SystemAlthough the release notes that many countries do not keep good records on drug errors, the WHO estimates that worldwide the cost of medication errors is $4.2 billion, equal to about one percent of the world’s total expenditures on healthcare. According to the WHO release, “The Global Patient Safety Challenge on Medication Safety aims to address the weaknesses in health systems that lead to medication errors and the severe harm that results.”

Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General stated, “Apart from the human cost, medication errors place an enormous and unnecessary strain on health budgets. Preventing errors saves money and saves lives.” Dr. Chan continued, “Most harm arises from systems failures in the way care is organized and coordinated, especially when multiple health providers are involved in a patient’s care. Any one of these, or a combination, can affect the prescribing, dispensing, consumption, and monitoring of medications, which can result in severe harm, disability and even death.”

In the WHO release, Liam Donaldson, WHO’s envoy for Patient Safety, stated, “Over the years, I have spoken to many people who have lost loved ones to medication-related errors and their stories, their quiet dignity and their acceptance of situations that should never have arisen have moved me deeply.” He continued, “It is to the memories of all those who have died due to incidents of unsafe care that this Challenge should be dedicated. There is a need for an organizational culture that routinely implements best practices and that avoids blame when mistakes are made.”

Dr. George Curry, president of the International Chiropractor Association commented on this issue by saying, “While every healthcare professional should applaud the effort to reduce medication errors that lead to harm, the discussion should also address ways to reduce the over utilization of medications in the population.” Curry continued, “One sure way to reduce the incidence of medical errors is to look to other forms of care that do not involve medications. Chiropractic has always represented an alternative to the medication approach for many millions of people.”

Dr. Robert Braile, chiropractor and author makes the point, “I guess a half reduction in the number of deaths and injuries would be considered by some as progress. But even if the WHO initiative is successful, that would mean that the WHO has a goal of only one death every other day and 650,000 injuries each year. Why is this level of carnage acceptable from a healthcare delivery systems that touts the mantra, ‘First do no harm?'”

If you or anyone you know could benefit from a better functioning nervous system, please call us at 512-452-2525 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Swanson. Austin chiropractor located in north central Austin, TX.


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Older Americans Taking More Medications

What is Polypharmacy? Can Chiropractic Care Reduce My Need For Medication?

The headline above comes from a March 21, 2016, Reuters news story published in response to a pre-released study on this subject published in the April 2016 issue of JAMA Internal Medicine. This article, and several others on this same subject, reported on the growing usage of medication by the increasing elderly population.

Older Americans Taking More Medications - Austin Texas Chiropractor help for car accident injuryThe study showed that 87.7% of the population 62 to 85 years old used at least one prescription medication in 2010-2011. This was up from 84.1% in 2005-2006. Even more alarming was that the study showed that people using five or more prescription medications increased from 30.6% to 35.8% in the same five year period.

The Reuters article begins by noting that people using multiple medications, known as polypharmacy, was associated with an increase in major drug interactions in older Americans. Dr. Dima M. Qato, the study’s lead author from the University of Illinois at Chicago, commented, “That’s a concern from a public health standpoint, because it’s getting worse.”

The study showed that because of the increase in polypharmacy, the percentage of people at risk for serious or even life-threatening drug interaction has gone from 8 percent in 2005-2006 to 15 percent in 2011-2012.

Dr. Qato also stated in a CBS interview on this issue, “Many of these potentially deadly drug interactions involve prescription and non-prescription medications and supplements that are not commonly used, but are increasingly being used by older adults. While it is not known how many older adults in the U.S. die of drug interactions, the risk seems to be growing and public awareness is lacking.”

“It is time to take the next leap forward. We need to create systems that support an ongoing process of monitoring medications,” said Michael A. Steinman, M.D., of the University of California, San Francisco, in an accompanying editorial. “Such systems would help us periodically assess the benefits, harms and ongoing need for each of a patient’s medications, as well as the reasonableness of the medication regimen as a whole. These systems could also help physicians with deprescribing, for example by supporting gradual down-titration of a medication and monitoring patients for adverse drug withdrawal reactions after a drug is stopped.”

“As much as we need to support reforms in medication monitoring, we seriously need to examine the culture of taking so many medications,” says Robert Braile D.C. chairman of the International Chiropractors Association Public Relations Committee. “Americans represent about 5% of the world’s population, yet we consume about 50% of the prescription medication in the world. This, coupled with the fact that the U.S. ranks far below many other nations in almost all health statistics except spending, should lead us to question whether or not the culture of a pill for every ill is a healthy and prudent direction.”

If you or anyone you know could benefit from a better functioning nervous system, please call us at 512-452-2525 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Swanson.


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