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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America’s Other Drug Problem: Too Many Prescriptions for Elderly

Does Being Under Chiropractic Care Help Reduce Medications? What Else Can I Do Besides Take Drugs?

The headline above comes from an article published on September 4, 2016, in the Los Angeles Daily News. The article was originally produced on August 30, 2016, by Kaiser Health News, and highlights the over usage of prescription medication on seniors.

americas-other-drug-problem-too-many-prescriptions-for-elderly-austin-tx-chiropractor-for-best-chiropractic-care-near-meThe article begins with observations by Dominick Bailey, a clinical pharmacist specializing in geriatric care at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, California. In performing his job of reviewing medication that the patients are taking, he noted several medications for elderly patients that were contraindicated and could cause harm. One 74-year-old patient, who had a history of multiple health problems, was on 36 different medications. Bailey’s reactions was, “This is actually a little bit alarming.”

Dr. Maristela Garcia, director of the inpatient geriatric unit also at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, commented, “This is America’s other drug problem-polypharmacy, and the problem is huge.”

The article reports that, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the elderly account for about 35 percent of hospital stays. However, they note that over half experience drug-related complications causing hospital stays to be extended by an average of about three days.

One of the issues pointed out in the article is that many medications are being given to the elderly with no time line to ever consider discontinuing them. “There’s a tendency in medicine every time we start a medicine to never stop it,” stated Dr. Ken Covinsky, University of California, San Francisco researcher and physician.

One of Bailey’s responsibilities at the UCLA Medical Center is to reduce the number of medications the elderly are taking. He also explains his concepts to other pharmacists and young interns at his center. In one such exchange, he explained that there is a fundamental difference on how drugs affect older people, “As you know, our elderly are already at risk for an accumulation of drugs in their body,” he told the group. “If you put a drug that has a really long half-life, it is going to last even longer in our elderly.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among older Americans (aged 60 and over), more than 76% used two or more prescription drugs, and 37% used five or more.

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. We are located in north central Austin, TX.


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