Opening the vial and popping that brightly colored pill with the unusual shape may not seem like an attempt to prevent medication errors from occurring, but it is one of the ways that is used to prevent someone from taking the wrong drug. Unfortunately, the prescribing, filling, and administering of medications in the wrong dose, and even the completely wrong drug, happens every day. When these types of errors do occur, the individuals who are impacted may have far-reaching consequences, including permanent damages to their physical, mental, and emotional health, or even death.
Common Medication Mistakes
As the field of medicine advances in leaps and bounds, there are amazing improvements in drugs and medications that are prescribed to individuals to address serious health issues. Some medications are crucial to preserving the life of someone suffering from a terrible illness or other medical issue. When a doctor or other medical provider makes a mistake with one of these drugs, the consequences can be devastating.
- Prescribing the wrong medication to treat a particular illness or condition;
- Prescribing a medication based on a misdiagnosis;
- Prescribing the wrong dose of a medication, which might be too much or too little of the active ingredient(s) in the medication – an all-too-common error is when there is a prescription for an adult dose of a medication when the patient is a child;
- Prescribing a medication that has severe side-effects for a particular group of patients, including drugs that are not intended to be administered to children;
- Prescribing a combination of drugs that have negative interactions, leading to a harmful outcome for the patient;
- Prescribing a medication to which the patient is allergic;
- Giving the prescription for one patient to another patient with a completely different medical condition;
- Failing to inform a patient about the potential side-effects of a particular drug or medication – there are many different things that must be avoided when taking a specific drug and it is the obligation of the doctor or nurse who is prescribing the medication to be certain that the patient has sufficient information to avoid dangerous interactions;
- Filling a prescription for a medication with the wrong dose or drug at the pharmacy;
- Mislabeling a medication – this may be medical malpractice if done by the pharmacist;
- Administering the wrong dose or the wrong drug at a medical facility;
- Administering the drug in the wrong way – many drugs have very specific protocols in order to be effective. If a nurse does not administer the drug properly, then the medication may not have the intended impact;
- Failing to properly calibrate, sterilize, and maintain equipment that automatically administers a medication at a healthcare facility; and
- Failing to monitor properly a patient’s response and reaction to the administration of a drug.
There are many different ways in which a medication error can occur, but the scary fact is that more than one million people each year are effected in some way by this type of medical negligence. The most common type of error involves a person who is prescribed or administered, or had filled, the right medication in the wrong dosage amount. This type of error can lead to the patient not receiving a sufficient amount of the drug to treat the medical condition that necessitated the prescription in the first place, resulting in a deterioration in the overall health of the patient. In other cases, the patient may receive too much of a particular drug, leading to serious side-effects that would not have happened, or would have occurred to a much lesser degree, if the right dose had been provided.
If there has been an error involving the prescribing, filling, or administering of a prescription drug that has led to injury in a patient, then it is important to consult with a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. This type of harm falls within the category of medical malpractice and a case may be brought against the doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider who was involved in the negligence. Medication errors can lead to minimal, short-term harm, but there also is the possibility of severe harm, including fatalities. A medical malpractice action may be the only way to get justice for the wrong that was done through a medication mistake.
Stern Law, PLLC Fights for Those Who Were Harmed by Malpractice
There are many different types of medical malpractice, but one of the most common involves medication errors. At Stern Law, PLLC, our medical error attorney has more than 30 years of experience in discovering the facts that support a medical malpractice case so that we can do the best job possible for our clients. In addition to advocating on behalf of individuals and their families whose lives were upended because of a healthcare provider’s negligence, we also serve as a resource, providing compassionate and committed staff to answer questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for those who have been impacted by medical malpractice. Call us at 1-844-808-7529 or fill out an online contact form in order to learn how we can help you get through this difficult time.