Table 4

Example of incorporating patient safety learning into problem-based learning cases

TriggerJames is a 15-year-old boy. He arrives at the hospital from a local clinic with noisy breathing and an itch. James' father reports he was fine 30 min earlier and suddenly became unwell. On examination, James looks distressed and nervous; he has a puffy face, enlarged lips, swollen eyes and red blotches on his skin.
Additional informationThe father tells you James was like this once before after having penicillin; he says James was told not to take the drug again. James had seen a doctor earlier today for a runny nose, sore throat and fever, and was prescribed amoxicillin. James' father is worried his son might be allergic to this new medication.
Additional discussion questions
  • How might James been given amoxicillin when he has a known allergy to penicillin?

  • Why was James prescribed an antibiotic when the most likely cause of his symptoms is a viral upper respiratory tract infection?

  • This problem was preventable; has someone made a mistake?

  • How can this be prevented?

  • What is the doctor's role; what is the patient's role?

Additional learning objectives
  • List a doctor's responsibilities when prescribing medication

  • List strategies to minimise patients being given the wrong medications that might harm them