Some years ago, a family friend died in the hospital, of drug overdose and the diagnosis was malaria. The story was that the morning nurse repeated a drug the night nurse already gave without his knowledge which caused the overdose. When I heard of it, I was sad and was blaming the health workers then and even though I still blame them till date, my orientation about that changed on the 15th of May 2018.
I was admitted in the hospital the previous day for malaria and was given drips. After the first drip was exhausted, the second one was fixed and I immediately started feeling an itchy sensation and asked the nurse why it was so, then she told me it was because it was an antibiotic. After that was exhausted, she fixed other ones till she handed over to the night nurse who also fixed other drips till dawn.
When the night nurse who was to hand over came in the morning to check on me, he wanted to fix a ciprofloxacin drip but because both ciprofloxacin drip and metronidazole (antibiotic) drip were of the same size and almost identical, he fixed the antibiotic drip, and as he was leaving, I felt the same itchy sensation and was telling the person beside me that the nurse just fixed an antibiotic drip because I was feeling an itchy sensation and told him what the afternoon nurse told me, immediately the nurse turned back and quickly stopped the infusion and changed it to ciprofloxacin drip, saying it wasn’t yet time for the antibiotic.
Even though he didn’t tell me directly that he made a mistake, my not being silent was enough to help him help me. I don’t know what would have happened to me if I had taken another full drip of antibiotic when it wasn’t yet time. I know most people would blame the nurse for the mistake, but I want you to know that he is not a super-human who can’t make mistakes.
As a patient, so far you are conscious while on admission, ensure that you familiarize yourself with your medications, so that once things begin to go wrong, you can raise alarm. I’m not a medical student to be that alert but within 24hrs that I had spent in the hospital, I know the difference between when given dextrose saline, ciprofloxacin and metronidazole infusion. You must be sensitive to your body nature. And this is the first time I’ve ever been admitted or given drips.
Drug overdose, which most people count as negligence on the part of the nurse and other medical teams, has sent millions of people to early grave and untimely death and it still happens every day, but if every patient can be at alert while in the hospital, then majority of patients won’t be a victim, because if you are not comfortable with your medication and you keep quiet, then drug overdose may also be your fault.
The well-being of everyone lies not only with the medical team but also with the patient themselves.
As a patient,
Health is wealth.
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