Dangers Associated With Pharmaceutical Errors
Medication errors can range from the mundane to the life threatening. Failing to provide patients with the drugs needed to effectively treat or manage a condition can easily lead to complications. Erroneous dosages that may be too low to be effective may also pose a problem while mistakenly prescribing higher doses can be very dangerous. Mistaking one medication for another may pose an even greater threat, especially for patients who routinely take multiple drugs and medications in order to maintain their health. Even a seemingly minor pharmaceutical mix up can be life threatening, especially in situations where drug interactions may occur.
Patients who have been prescribed the wrong dose or medication may not even notice the error for quite some time. The longer the situation goes unnoticed, the greater the risk and potential consequences. Medication errors can lead to organ damage, permanent loss of function and other issues which may greatly detract from a patient’s overall quality of life. Filing a medical malpractice suite is often an essential step, one that may allow the families and victims of a pharmaceutical error to obtain the financial assistance that may be essential for dealing with any long-term consequences.
Common Causes of Medication Errors
There are a variety of ways in which a pharmaceutical error may occur, with some of the most common being:
- Physicians writing the wrong prescription
- Incorrect labeling of medication by the pharmacy
- Improper administration of medication by a nurse or other healthcare provider
- Failure to obtain a complete and accurate medical history for a patient
- Oversights regarding any medications that may be contraindicated
Regardless of the underlying cause of a pharmaceutical error, the end results can still pose a serious risk to patients. Those who have suffered from a medication error may benefit from legal assistance in order to ensure their efforts to file an insurance claim or malpractice suite will be met with greater success.
Preventing a Pharmaceutical Error
According to one study conducted by the Institute of Medicine, medication errors account for more than 7,000 deaths each year. The most tragic aspect of these deaths is that all medication errors are entirely avoidable. Taking steps to ensure that prescriptions are accurate and properly interpreted is an important responsibility, one that is shared by both the physician and the pharmacy staff. Even patients themselves may be able to take a more active role in ensuring that they are not prescribed the wrong dosage, drug or a medication which may be contraindicated.
Hospitals and clinics that are utilizing outdated systems in order to manage medical records or to process a prescription may be less likely to detect an error. Processes for supplying or administering medications that make use of built-in redundancy in order to double or even triple-check that the right medication is being given to right patient can also make quite a difference. Healthcare providers and facilities that fail to do everything necessary in order to eliminate the potential for medication and pharmaceutical errors may be liable for any damages or harm their patients may suffer.
Dealing With the Consequences of a Pharmaceutical Error
The injuries, medical complications and other damages that may result from a medication error are not always readily apparent. Taking steps in order to fully assess the extent of any damages done to a patient’s health can be of paramount importance. Determining the nature of the error and identifying who was at fault can also be important, especially when it comes to managing an insurance claim or taking legal action in order to obtain any compensation that may be owed.
If you or a member of your family have been the victims or a prescription, medication or pharmaceutical error, then it is time to contact the professionals. The insight, guidance and additional resources that an experience personal injury or medical malpractice attorney can bring to the table can often make a crucial difference. Scheduling an in initial legal consultation can provide you with the chance to share your story and learn more about the options that may be available to you.