Oh, Give me strength.
Research conducted by the BNF (British National Formulary) has found that the labels on medications are "too difficult for members of the public to understand."
Apparently phrases like "May cause Drowsiness" need to be replaced with "This medicine may make you sleepy" and "Avoid Alcohol" needs to now read "Do not drink Alcohol when taking this medicine"
Cue much re-writing of labels and leaflets, costing a fortune and achieving what exactly?
The last time I was discharged from hospital :
-My anti-emetic was prescribed as tablets instead of injections
-Another anti-emetic was dispensed in 25mg injections, but no-one told me I was only supposed to draw up a quarter of it and throw the rest away.
-I was only sent home with 38 pethidine injections despite it clearly saying 56 on the discharge request
-The pethidine injections were 50mg instead of my usual 100mg, meaning that I only had enough painkillers to last me until 3am on the Sunday morning after discharge, leaving me without until my surgery opened on the Monday and a new prescription could be arranged.
-The bottle of medazolam prescribed was missing altogether
-I was sent home with not one but two boxes of Tramadol - a painkiller I never take and which I am allergic to.
-I was sent home haemorrhaging because a blood thinning drug (Clexane) had been combined with an anti-emetic that caused bleeding. Despite trying to tell the staff for over 24 hours, no-one looked into it or asked if it had stopped before sending me home.
Recently, as part of the 20 Billion in "efficiency savings" the NHS are being ordered to make, my mother received a call from her doctor asking why she takes a more expensive antacid than the normal one prescribed. She explained that the cheaper alternative had given her an allergic reaction. (Something clearly detailed in her notes, had he read them.) Next, he mentioned that she'd had a TIA (mini stroke) "But I haven't?" She replied
"Do you know what a TIA is? He asked
"Yes, a Trans Ischemic Attack or mini stroke" she replied "I can assure you I've never had one."
"Oh! You must have been a receptionist!" Was his explanation for her knowing such a thing. Not a neurosurgeon or a physiotherapist, but a receptionist.
Here's an idea - why don't we stop treating patient's like idiots? After all, despite their assumptions we are able to decipher their endless mistakes and oversights in order to keep ourselves alive, so we might actually be capable of understanding the word drowsy!
Maybe - just maybe - it might improve things more if we stop asking harassed junior doctors to write up discharge meds when they've never met or treated the patient in question? Maybe, it might be a good idea to overhaul the system of ordering and dispensing pharmacy meds from hospital? While we're at it, that might have the accidental effect of ensuring it doesn't take all day long to get them up to a ward, freeing up beds for incoming patients? Maybe we should try really hard to actually prescribe the drugs the patient takes with the right doses and instructions?
Surely my suggestions would save a lot more lives than assuming that most patients have an IQ of 6?