‘I Don’t Understand How This Could Be’ UConn Students Try to Solve Life-Threatening Medicine Mix-Ups

(12/17/2014) – When Steve Graf, and dozens of fellow volunteers, traveled to Ghana to help the sick, they brought 35 suitcases of medications and provision—and an endless supply of good intentions.

After a week of triaging patients, and distributing medications, Graf and his colleagues made a startling discovery. 862Many of the patients weren’t recovering, and some were consuming medications too quickly.

Some adults were doubling up on blood-pressure medications. Children were guzzling liquid acetaminophen from the bottle. And, compounding the problem, many of the patients were illiterate. Sometimes parents would leave the clinic with as many as 20 different prescriptions for their four children, leading to endless confusion.

Everyone on the medical mission was frustrated with the situation, but Graf just couldn’t let it go.

“I thought, ‘This is a terrible thing. I don’t understand how this could be,'” he said. Graf, now a UConn senior majoring in healthcare management, thought about the problem often after he returned from the trip in May of 2013.

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