Medication Errors: Common Types And How They Happen
Medications are behind some of the most powerful, effective cures, treatments, and preventative measures available in the health care profession. As such, you can guess the harm they are capable of inducing when improperly administered. According to the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP), medication errors are one of the most common mistakes by health care providers, causing harm to around 1.5 million patients every year. At a societal level, the extra expenses to treat patients for adverse drug events are up to $3.5 billion annually for hospitals alone.
However, you could also experience considerable losses at the individual, personal level if harmed by a medication error. It is reassuring to know that you have remedies, since these cases are covered under Florida medical malpractice laws. You can count on a Tampa, FL medical malpractice lawyer for help with the legal process, and read on for some information on how such mistakes happen.
Common Medication Mistakes
There are almost 6,800 prescription medications and a plethora of over-the-counter drugs available in the US, and more products enter the stream of commerce every day. The most frequent errors with medications occur at the ordering and/or prescribing stage, so the mistake typically tracks back to the physician. Wrong medication, an improper dose, wrong route for administration, and incorrect frequency can lead to serious patient harm.
In addition, other common medication errors include:
- Documentation, such as the failure to review information about the patient’s allergies or potential for drug interactions;
- Transcribing, which refers to a discrepancy between what the physician ordered and how the information made its way to the patient chart;
- Dispensing medication, where there can be inconsistencies between the doctor’s prescription and distributing it to the patient;
- Administering medication, such as not following instructions on route, providing an extra dose, or giving it to the wrong patient; and,
- Monitoring the patient after administration for adverse reactions, drug interactions, or problems with renal or liver functions.
Causes Behind Medication Errors
There are numerous underlying reasons that these mistakes occur, but they are usually the result of negligence by health care providers. For a medical malpractice case, you must prove that the practitioner departed from the medical standard of care that applies under the circumstances. The professional who ordered, dispensed, or otherwise played a role with medication may deviate from this standard by:
- Allowing distractions to interfere with medication administration;
- Failure to properly use a Computer Physician Order Entry (CPOE) system;
- Dispensing an expired drug or one that was compromised in storage;
- Establishing an incorrect rate with IVs or infusions; and,
- Not checking to confirm medications that sound similar or include similar abbreviations.
Our Florida Medication Errors Attorneys Will Assist with the Legal Process
If you suffered harm because of these or any other medication mistakes, please contact Greco & Wozniak P.A. right away to discuss your options. You can contact our offices in Tampa, FL by calling 813.223.7849 or visiting our website. We are happy to set up a no-cost caser review to evaluate your situation and determine strategy.