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An area of South Australia a€” famous for its arid landscape a€” is sitting pretty after a period of extended wet weather brought the desert to life. With so many of its biggest athletes missing from the Rio Games, is there any chance of Australia hitting its medal target? Brumbies have been running wild in Kosciusko National Park for more than 150 years, but now the mountain men and women who tame them are at odds with park authorities over their future. Hobart Rivulet is a subterranean gem with a well-documented history but it is not a place everyone ventures.
This service may include material from Agence France-Presse (AFP), APTN, Reuters, AAP, CNN and the BBC World Service which is copyright and cannot be reproduced. Mums and dads killed by botched routine medical procedures — yes, your parents, your precious little boy or girl, our gallant servicemen home for treatment, expectant mothers, accident victims, sports stars, the famous — medical negligence does not discriminate. Errors involving medication administration can be costly, both financially and in human terms.
When asked to identify the most common factors that contribute to injectable medication errors, 78 percent of nurses surveyed cite their rushed workload and busy environment.
Statistics paint pictures that make remarkable claims, yet it’s very difficult to validate or construct exact data on the frequency and severity of errors.
Many of the errors are due to either people working tired, understaffing, junior staff not picking up on erroneous medication dosages, momentary lapses in judgment or failure to follow procedures (ie two staff checking drugs etc). While errors like these happen from time to time, I’m not so sure they happen quite as frequently as people might assume. The best way to understand how medication errors happen and how to prevent them is to consider their classification, which can be contextual, modal, or psychological. Psychologists consider an error to be a disorder of an intentional act, and they distinguish between errors in planning an act and errors in its execution. Knowledge-based errors can be related to any type of knowledge, general, specific, or expert. Rule-based errors can further be categorized as (a) the misapplication of a good rule or the failure to apply a good rule; and (b) the application of a bad rule.


This classification can help understand how errors can be prevented, as discussed in detail elsewhere [15]. Medication errors, which can lead to adverse drug reactions, require clear and unambiguous definitions, so that patients, prescribers, manufacturers, and regulators can all understand each other. Health Minister Jillian Skinner claims she first heard about under-dosing of cancer patients at St Vincent’s Hospital in the media in February but a letter tells a different story. THE state’s health watchdog has sharpened its focus on investigations relating to Australia’s unfolding women’s prolapse mesh disaster after serious complaints, including that a doctor allegedly falsely claimed he had ethics approval to conduct a mesh device study at a major public hospital. The celebrated surgeon, Dr Antonio Vega Vega, stood down from his job at Rockhampton Hospital, Queensland, after allegedly botching four operations in seven months. The establishment of a hospital patient safety program that includes medication labeling protocols can help to reduce such errors, which can range from a patient receiving an incorrect dosage of a medication to receiving incorrect medication. Often it comes up in a slightly sensationalised form in the media, with grim statistics accompanying a photo of a busy hospital, and comments made on the negative outcomes for recipients of such errors. For instance, according to The Australian, mistakes happen more frequently in Queensland than any other state or territory of Australia. Certainly long periods of time go by without any errors being made, and most errors are fairly minor, with little or no consequences.
Often times however the hospital or greater management disagree with front line staff as to who is responsible and why mistakes have occurred. Medication (the process) is the act of giving a medication (the object) to a patient for any of these purposes.
Contextual classification deals with the specific time, place, medicines, and people involved. If a prior intention to reach a specified goal leads to action, and the action leads to the goal, all is well. The classification of medication errors on the basis of the underlying psychological mechanisms, based on how errors occur, can suggest strategies that help to reduce their occurrence.
For more information, review The Joint Commission's 2006 Critical Access Hospital and Hospital National Patient Safety Goals, which includes suggestions for how to avoid medication administration errors.


A medication (the object) can be considered to be the same as a medicinal product, which has been defined in terms of what a medicinal product is and what it does. This definition reminds us of the distinction between the drug itself (the active component) and the whole product. However, it does not include medications when they are used to probe systems for nondiagnostic purposes, such as the use of phenylephrine to study baroreceptor reflexes in a physiological or pharmacological experiment.
Different definitions of medication errors have been tested, as all technical definitions should be.
Multiplicity of medication safety terms, definitions and functional meanings: when is enough enough? Errors in prescribing, preparing, and giving medicines – definition, classification, and prevention. Random and systematic medication errors in routine clinical practice: a multicentre study of infusions, using acetylcysteine as an example. Testing the practical aspects of therapeutics by objective structured clinical examination. In this case it was done by devising scenarios and determining which would constitute an error under each of the definitions. Memory-based errors occur when something is forgotten; for example, giving penicillin, knowing the patient to be allergic, but forgetting. However, classification based on psychological theory [21] is to be preferred, as it explains events rather than merely describing them.



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