Minerva Minerva


BMJ 2002; 325 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.325.7366.724 (Published 28 September 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:724

It's easy to blame patients for not taking their medicines as directed, but an extraordinarily high number of medication errors seem to be made by hospital staff too. In 36 institutions in one American study, 19% of doses given were considered “in error.” The most common errors were wrong time (43%), omission (30%), wrong dose (17%), and unauthorised drug (4%). Fortunately only 7% of the errors were judged potential adverse events (Archives of Internal Medicine 2002;162:1897-903)

Minerva wonders if the long term prognosis for doctors who misuse alcohol is any different from anyone else with the same problem. A 21 year follow up of 100 alcoholic doctors found that 24 had died directly from their alcoholism, 73% considered themselves recovered alcoholics, and 9% had developed oral, throat, or oesophageal cancer. Of the 56 who are still alive, 29 have retired and 27 are still working as doctors (Alcoholism 2002;37:370-4).

A woman undergoing electrical brain stimulation as treatment for epilepsy described vivid out of body experiences when neurologists excited the angular gyrus in the right cortex (Nature 2002;419:269-70). They suggest that the angular gyrus matches up information from the visual system with the system that creates the mind's representation …

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