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Table 2 The nine different categories of medication errors

From: Medication errors as malpractice-a qualitative content analysis of 585 medication errors by nurses in Sweden

Error type N (%) Stories illustrating the categories
Wrong dose 241 (41) Due to bad communication between a nurse and an assistant nurse, they both gave a woman with diabetes insulin.
Wrong drug 96 (16) A man with heart failure was given morphine instead of furosemide intravenously because the nurse was thinking of another patient.
Wrong patient 76 (13) An in-patient was given drugs that were meant for the patient in the next bed.
Omission 69 (12) A patient did not get warfarin for 2 weeks since the medication was temporarily discontinued and then forgotten.
Unauthorized drug 57 (10) A nurse gave a patient with severe pain a higher dose of analgesics than prescribed because the lower dose had not resulted in pain relief. No physician was available at the time.
Wrong route 35 (6) Due to a misunderstanding of the nurse’s instructions, an assistant nurse administered ear drops into the eyes of a nursing home patient.
Wrong judgement (or inadequate assessment of the patient’s need for treatment) 16 (3) A patient who had very a low blood sugar was nevertheless given her prescribed dose of insulin.
Wrong management or storage of the drug, 11 (2) A nurse who could not find the proper drug picked up a package from a box of discarded drugs and gave it to the patient.
Allergy-related error 9 (2) Using the department’s the list of drugs that nurses are allowed to administer occasionally without a doctor’s order, a nurse administered alimemazine to a patient from without noticing that the patient was allergic to this drug.
Other 3 (<1)  
Total numbers of errors in the 585 cases 613  
  1. Table 2 shows the nine different categories of medication errors, the number and the percent calculated in relation to the 585 cases for each category and examples illustrating each category