Words: The “Drug” With the Highest Frequency of Dispensing Errors



ACADEMIC EMERGENCY MEDICINE 2011; 18:93–95 © 2011 by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine


Effective communication is the key component of every patient–physician encounter and is essential for shared decision-making. “Words” are perhaps the most frequently dispensed “drug,” while communication is the most frequently performed “procedure” in emergency medicine. Yet, communication skills are often learned by trial and error, as opposed to the methodical approach followed for teaching all other technical procedures. The case presented below highlights the importance of incorporating effective communication skills as tools for our daily practice.