Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Units of Measurement

Units of measurement are crucial in administering medications and reporting the results of laboratory tests.
  • Accidentally shifting the decimal point in a dosage could kill your patient.

  • Talking about grams instead of milligrams could have disastrous effects.
You must always be extremely careful to make sure that you are using the correct unit of measurement. You should never assume that the person transcribingyour work automatically knows the proper dosage for every medication you prescribe.
Yet, doctors will frequently dictate sentences like the following:

"The patient was then given point three of epi......."

"The patient was then given 25 of Valium......"

Someone further down the documentation chain who is reading a patient's chart wouldn't have to be an attorney to ask:
"The patient was then given 25 what of Valium?"

"Did the patient receive 25 mg, 25 gm,or 25 shopping bags full of Valium?"
If you have left this detail open to interpretation you have not only left yourself vulnerable to attorneys -- you may have seriously endangered the life of your patient.

[Consciousness Raising Exercise #16]

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