Common Causes of Medication Errors
Medical malpractice can happen in a number of ways. It’s not just a doctor doing surgery and operating on the wrong body part. It could be negligence involving medication.
A medication error is defined as any preventable event that results in inappropriate medication use and causes patient harm. The medication error can happen during prescribing, order communication, compounding, dispensing, product labeling, packaging, distribution, and administration.
As you can see, from the time a doctor prescribes a drug to the time a patient receives the drug, a lot can go wrong. Here’s a look at some errors and how you can prevent them.
Common ways in which medication errors can occur include the following:
- Illegible handwritten prescriptions. A drug may be mistaken for another due to a doctor’s poor handwriting. It may be hard to decipher which drug they are prescribing, leading to mistakes by pharmacists.
- Lack of medical history. The doctor should know about the patient’s medical history, such as medications they are currently taking, any side effects, drug-drug interactions, and any drug allergies.
- Wrong dose or drug. Prescribing errors may include the wrong dose or the wrong drug altogether. These issues can harm the patient and lead to a worsened condition.
- Similar drug names. When medications look or sound alike, they can introduce errors. Drugs can be mistaken for others, causing serious harm.
Ways to Prevent Errors
When it comes to reducing medical errors, knowledge is power. Here’s what you need to know:
- Know your medications. You should be familiar with the names and indications of your medications. How much do you take and when?
- Read the medication information sheet. The pharmacy will provide this for you. It will tell you about the drug’s side effects and how to best take the medication.
- Check the expiration date of your medications. Do not take expired drugs. If you are given out of date drugs, let the pharmacy know. You will likely be asked to throw them out.
- Learn about proper drug storage. Should the medications be refrigerated? Know how to properly store them. Generally speaking, you should keep them out of direct heat and avoid freezing them.
- Keep medication out of the reach of children. Do not allow children to have access to your medications. They could suffer poisoning if they swallow the drugs.
- Do not share your medications. A friend or family member may want to use your medications. This is not a good idea, as the drugs are formulated for you. Anyone else who takes them could be harmed.
Contact Us Today
Prescription medications are supposed to help those who are ill or injured, but sometimes they can do more harm than good, especially if it’s the wrong drug or dose.
These cases can be complex and costly to prove, as they require a lot of evidence. The Tampa medical malpractice lawyers at Greco & Wozniak P.A. can help you if you were harmed by a medication error caused by a pharmacy or doctor. Schedule a consultation by calling (813) 223-7849 or filling out the online form.