Medication errors injure over a million patients a year. Medication errors are by far the most common medical error. A report by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, found than in any given week, 80% of U.S. adults take at least one medication. Almost one third take at least five different medications. The committee found at least one medication error per day occurred with each hospital patient.
The committee also found at least 25% of medication related injuries are preventable. The cost of these errors occurring in hospitals alone is estimated to amount to $3.5 billion a year. This does not take into account the human loss of life or the pain associated with these errors.
If President Obama wants to overhaul the medical system, he should start with preventing medication errors, in hospitals, nursing homes and clinics.