HealthDay News - Northern Hospital of Surry County



Whether you’re looking for the aspirin in your medicine cabinet or recuperating in a hospital bed, safety should be uppermost in your mind. How much do you know about protecting yourself? Take this short quiz to find out.

1. According to a report from the Institute of Medicine, mistakes in hospitals kill about half as many Americans each year as car accidents. True or false?

True

False

2. Many lives would be saved if patients simply took every medication given to them in the hospital. True or false?

True

False

3. Which of these over-the-counter products have the potential to clash with prescription medicines?

a. Aspirin

b. Antacids

c. St. John’s wort

d. All of the above

4. Which of these causes the most childhood poisonings?

a. Aspirin

b. Nutritional supplements

c. Prescription painkillers

d. Antibiotics

5. Which of these safety measures should be a standard procedure for hospital doctors and nurses?

a. Washing hands before treating a patient

b. Checking the patient’s I.D. bracelet before giving any medicine

c. Thoroughly explaining the reasons for any test or treatment

d. All of the above

6. Which of these is NOT a common cause of medication errors at home?

a. Using a nonstandard measuring device

b. Continuing to take a medication even after you feel better

c. Misunderstanding the directions on the label

d. Keeping medicines past the expiration date

The Answers

1. According to a report from the Institute of Medicine, mistakes in hospitals kill about half as many Americans each year as car accidents. True or false?

The correct answer is: False.

Some experts believe mistakes in hospitals kill as many Americans as car accidents — and maybe even much more. One study included in a report by the Institute of Medicine suggested the yearly death toll from hospital mistakes could reach 98,000, but another study put the figure at 44,000. For comparison, roughly 43,000 Americans die in car accidents each year. (A 2004 report from a healthcare quality ratings company put the number even higher, at an estimated 195,000 deaths per year from 2000 through 2002.)

2. Many lives would be saved if patients simply took every medication given to them in the hospital. True or false?

The correct answer is: False.

Medication errors are all too common in hospitals. Instead of blindly taking every pill you’re given, make sure it’s the right drug and the right dose. Develop a good relationship with your caregivers, and double-check with your nurse or doctor if a pill doesn’t look familiar or if you notice any other unexpected changes in your treatment. If you are undergoing an operation and know you may feel dazed and confused afterwards, bring a relative or trusted friend to the hospital to stay with you and ask those questions.

3. Which of these over-the-counter products have the potential to clash with prescription medicines?

The correct answer is: d. All of the above.

Many over-the-counter products can clash with prescription medicines. For example, aspirin can cause internal bleeding if taken with the blood-thinner warfarin (Coumadin). Antacids can weaken the effectiveness of some antibiotics, and St. John’s wort, an herbal supplement marketed as a depression reliever, could potentially cause many side effects if taken with prescription antidepressants such as Prozac (fluoxetine). You can protect yourself by carefully reading all medication labels and telling your doctor about every medicine you take, including over-the-counter products and herbal remedies.

4. Which of these causes the most childhood poisonings?

The correct answer is: b. Nutritional supplements

According to the Food and Drug Administration, vitamins and other supplements containing iron poison thousands of children in the U.S. every year. All medicines should be kept out of reach of young children. Remember: Child-resistant packages aren’t necessarily childproof. The only safe medications are the ones children can’t touch.

5. Which of these safety measures should be a standard procedure for hospital doctors and nurses?

The correct answer is: d. All of the above.

Whenever you’re in a hospital, you should (politely) hold all of your healthcare providers to the highest standards of safety. If you — or friends or relatives advocating for you — make sure they take these basic steps, you’re much more likely to have a smooth recovery.

6. Which of these is NOT a common cause of medication errors at home?

The correct answer is: b. Continuing to take a medication even after you feel better.

Unless your doctor says it’s okay, you should never stop taking a medication just because you feel better. Also, you shouldn’t use a spoon from the silverware drawer or any other nonstandard measuring device when taking liquid medicine. If anything on your medicine label seems confusing, ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist for guidance. And be sure to take those expiration dates seriously: Medications can lose their effectiveness over time.

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HealthDay News

Northern Hospital of Surry County

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