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The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype, and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Computer Age by Robert Wachter

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Chapter 15The Pharmacist

[Only] the right dose differentiates a poison from a remedy.

—Paracelsus (1493–1541), the father of modern pharmacology

Benjamin Chan was working in the seventh-floor pharmacy that afternoon. It was his job as the pediatric clinical pharmacist to sign off on all medication orders on the pediatric service. The hospital’s safety system requires that no order proceed directly from the doctor’s electronic signature to the administering nurse. Teaching hospitals like UCSF that care for patients who are on multiple complex medications with many potential interactions and subtleties generally require pharmacists to preapprove each order. While there is a main pharmacy in the basement of the hospital that deals with most medication ...

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