More Drug-Related Deaths Blamed on Poor Handwriting by American Doctors

I've pointed out numerous times over the years how conventional wisdom of physicians and health care workers can lead to your death by medicine in a big hurry. And, many of them occur because of your local pharmacy every month.

Unfortunately, a recent report from the National Academies of Science's Institute of Medicine confirms the findings of a news report I posted two years ago that a doctor's poor handwriting can be deadly.

Fact is, sloppy handwriting -- interpreted incorrectly by a nurse or pharmacist -- contributes to the deaths of more than 7,000 Americans annually. Another number that makes all the difference: Less than a third of all American doctors write 80 percent of the nation's overall prescription volume.

While much of this interesting Time piece focuses on ways to prevent such errors, in part via Web-based tools developed by the National e-prescribing Patient Safety Initiative, steps like these do nothing to improve drug safety or slow down conventional medicine's first impulse to throw a drug at a problem, rather than treat conditions through safer, more natural means.

Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, Preventing Medication Errors, July 20, 2006 Free PDF Report

Time January 15, 2007