Prescription drug errors are a common source of medical malpractice and can occur anywhere in the chain, from the pharmacist to the dispensing nurse. Because a patient is usually a layman, without any particular knowledge of medications, he or she cannot be expected to know when prescribed medication is wrong and can suffer serious consequences or drug interactions as a result. In turn, this may complicate a patient’s recovery from an illness or injury and lead to a longer period of recuperation or have other adverse consequences. A medical malpractice lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, or West Palm Beach can advise an individual who has been a victim of prescription drug error.
Medication Errors That Are Most Common
According to the Food and Drug Administration, over 95,000 errors in medication have been reported to the agency since 2000. Because reporting is voluntary, the numbers might be much higher. Following a study conducted for a five-year period that culminated in 1998, 41 percent of errors that resulted in fatalities were due to improper dosage. Almost 50 percent of fatal errors were found in individuals over 60 years of age. Administering the incorrect drug along with employing the wrong administration of the medicine were deemed responsible for 16 percent of the mistakes.
Medications Are Frequently Overlooked in a Hospital
The National Institutes of Health reported in 2010 the results of a study concerning patients and medications. Of the group of hospital patients studied, 96 percent did not receive at least one medication that was prescribed. The average was 6.8 medications. In addition, 44 percent thought they were being given one medication in the hospital that had not been prescribed. Those who wanted to see their medication list to check for accuracy numbered 81 percent, although only 28 percent had actually seen it.
Different Types of Medication Errors
Medication errors are estimated to occur to over 1.3 million individuals every year, according to the FDA. Medication errors can vary from being given the wrong prescription, the wrong dosage, or an adverse reaction to combined medicines that should have been recognized to avoid this problem to not being given a prescribed medicine while in a hospital setting. Additionally, while hospitalized, a patient may not be receiving medicines that the patient was taking before being hospitalized, such as blood pressure medicines and blood thinners. When medications are not carefully monitored, adverse reactions can occur and cause further problems that can delay a patient’s recuperation time or result in a catastrophic event.
Responsibility for Medication Mistakes
Medication mistakes can occur from the time the medicine is prescribed to when the patient receives the medicine. The chain includes prescribing, repackaging, dispensing, administering, and monitoring. Some errors occur with the prescription or dosage being misread by the pharmacist to the pharmacist filling the prescription incorrectly, the anesthesiologist using the wrong dosage of an anesthetic, or a nurse bringing the wrong medicine or dosage to a patient. It can also occur when a prescription is ordered by a physician without checking for allergies and in dangerous drug interactions when all medications are not checked for adverse effects when used with another drug.
Medication Error Repercussions
A patient who has suffered a prescription drug error may be faced with additional medical costs. In addition, an extended hospital stay due to complications and other deleterious effects can adversely impact his or her life.
Contact a Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Contacting a medical malpractice lawyer is the best defense you can have against an injury by a healthcare provider and a lawyer can explain prescription drug errors. Kaiser Romanello is a law firm experienced in all facets of medical malpractice and negligence and will always have your best interests at heart. If you have been injured by medical error, contact us for a free case evaluation to see if you can be compensated for the expenses associated with your injury.