What To Do If You Are A Victim of Medication Errors
Recent research shows that, on average, 80% of Americans use prescription drugs on a weekly basis. Of this, 100,000 die every year due to medication errors, such as taking the wrong medication or even the incorrect amount of the right medication. A medication error may be defined as any event that is avoidable that has or may cause harm to the patient and that is controlled by a healthcare professional or patient. These events could be related to bad communication, compounding, packaging, product labeling, distribution, dispensing, education and administration. Our medication error attorneys are able to assist you in getting the financial compensation you deserve.
Medication errors are divided into the following classes:
Prescribing – Prescribing medication errors occur when the incorrect drug product, dose, quantity, administration of drug, concentration, rat, or instructions for use of a drug are ordered by a healthcare professional. For example, you have a heart condition and need medication to keep the side-effects at bay. The doctor prescribes your normal medication only they make an error regarding the concentration of your medication.
Omission Errors – When your medication requires consistent fill-ups, the slightest error in date and time can be lethal. An omission error is a failure to give the proper dose of medication before the next one is scheduled, or outside of the predetermined interval from its scheduled time.
Improper Administration Errors – There may be times when your medication is administered by a healthcare professional, but they make a mistake. For example, when a professional administers a medication intravenously instead of orally.
Fragmented Care Errors – This time of error occurs when there is a lack of communication between the prescribing physician and the other healthcare professional in charge of dispensing the correct medication. For example, the doctor does not tell the nurse the proper medication and this results in a medication error in your medication.
Prescription errors make up for a majority of medical errors at 20-60%.
These mistakes are made by healthcare providers when giving prescriptions. Some of the mistakes made while prescribing include:
Failure to prescribe
Incorrect drug selection
Failure to note the patient’s allergy history
Failure to consider drug-food or drug-drug interactions
These errors are normally caused by:
Miscommunication between healthcare providers such as doctors and pharmacists — The doctor may have written one thing on the prescription, but the pharmacist reads another. This may lead to a prescription error.
Incorrect charting and record-keeping — Healthcare professionals rely on the correct charting of the patient in order to prescribe the right medication. If there was an error, it may result in an incorrect medication prescription.
Distractions — While we are all prone to errors, most errors do not tend to cause health issues in another person. A healthcare professional who was distracted during the time of the prescribing/dispensing/administering can commit errors that can lead to many side-effects.
Environments — An overworked healthcare worker is prone to mistakes due to excess stress and fatigue.
Incomplete patient information — Lacking information on any patient can lead to a multitude of errors. For example, if a patient is allergic to a certain molecule in a medicine and the healthcare professional does not have the complete patient information, the patient may suffer severe side-effects, or even die.
Systemic problems — Medications that are not properly labeled, medicines with similar-looking names placed next to each other, lack barcodes, are just asking for errors.
Dispensing medication errors cause about 6-12% of all medication errors. These mistakes are usually made by pharmacy technicians or pharmacists. Research shows that up to 85% of dispensing errors might have been avoided.
Some of the common dispensing errors made include:
Giving patients the wrong prescriptions
Failing to verify dosage or drug name
Not adequately advising the patient
Some common cases involving dispensing errors include:
Mislabeling of prescriptions
Personnel that is not well trained
Handwriting that is illegible
Wrong use of decimals
Poor written and oral communication
On the other hand, drug administration mistakes are commissioned by nurses and take place when one of the “five rights” has not been observed.
The “five rights” are the basis used in nurse education in regard to drug administration. Basically, the five rights refer to giving the right drug to the right patient in the right dosages at the right time and via the right route.
Drug administration errors are most common in long-term facilities, acute care hospitals and also in home care. This is due to the fact that in most of these settings, the nurses operate in a demanding environment.
Groups of people that are mostly prone to medication errors include: Newborn BabiesThe Elderly
Our legal team of experts at Downtown LA Law will handle your medication errors case with the attention it deserves. Given the broad amount of experience that we have in medication error cases, we will work hard to ensure that your rights are protected.
If you or someone that you know has been a victim of medication errors, contact our experienced team of legal lawyers. We will help you secure the compensation that is due to you.
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By submitting this form, you agree to receive telephone calls and text messages at anytime, which include hours outside of business hours (8:00 am PST - 9:00 pm PST). This is so that we may reach you as soon as possible in order to consult on your potential case.
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