Prescription errors may seem relatively minor when you’re dealing with over-the-counter drugs. If you take the wrong pill then you get a stomach ache or headache and no big loss occurs, right? However when prescription medication is involved, the effects can be critical. While some medications only warn against minor side effects, other bottles may list far more alarming possibilities: blood clotting, stroke, heart attack, severe bleeding, hallucinations and even sudden death.
Medication errors that result in significant physical damage are grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. You might be startled when you read new statistics on medication errors coming out of the medical industry. B-Braun Medical Center quotes several sources, including National Center for Health Statistics, the Agency for Health Research and Quality and the National Vital Statistics Reports, when they state that medication errors kill more people than motor vehicle accidents, breast cancer or AIDS each year. Furthermore, adverse drug events cause over 700,000 injuries each year, costing an average of $5.6 million dollars per individual hospital. This coincides with The Institute of Medicine’s estimation that combined effects of “preventable adverse drug events” costs the entire industry $2 billion dollars a year.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the American Hospital Association give five common medication errors which can cause significant injury or even death. These include dosage errors categorized by the following:
- Incomplete Patient Information: This could include the doctor being ignorant or negligible as to patient allergies, other medications the patient is taking, previous diagnoses and lab results.
- Unavailable Drug Information: This could be because a certain drug doesn’t provide adequate or up-to-date warnings.
- Miscommunication of Prescription: Miscommunication is usually caused by poor handwriting, typos, misuse of numbers and decimal points, confusion of units and incorrect abbreviations. This could result from a doctor’s error, or from the mistake of a nurse or office assistant.
- Lack of Appropriate Labeling: This usually results from packaging or dosage errors, as there are various dosages of medications available.
- Environmental Factors: These types of medication errors result because of distraction. Anything from improper lighting to excessive heat or cold, to noise interruption can affect a doctor’s judgment and ruin an otherwise accurate medication prescription.
These are simple errors that can have detrimental, even fatal, effects on a patient. Patients are usually very trusting of their doctor’s advice. The number of medication malpractice related deaths, nearly 200,000 a year according to Medical News Today does not compare to the 18,999 medical malpractice payment reports that are actually being made.
The problem here is that too many patients are backing down in the face of adversity. When you are the one injured you have rights. An experienced pharmacy mistake lawyer can guide you through this difficult case. Contact Rasansky Law Firm and tell our prescription error lawyers about the medication errors that have compromised the quality of your life. You can get a free consultation with no commitment over the phone or by filling out the form on this page of our site.