Washington DC and Maryland Medication Errors Medical Malpractice Law Firm
Our firm believes that your doctor, nurse and pharmacist should prevent pharmaceutical errors. They should make sure that you always receive the proper dosage and the correct medication.
Medication errors are one of the most common types of medical negligence. A recent study found that between 7,000 to 9,000 people die each year as a result of medication errors in the United States. Many hundreds of thousands more experience an adverse reaction to prescribed medication. Of these additional non-fatal cases, many go unreported.
When Do Medication Errors Occur?
Medication and prescription drug errors happen throughout the patient care process. Errors occur often when medication is ordered or prescribed. In fact, the most common type of error occurs when a health care worker writes down the wrong medication or the incorrect dosage or frequency. This results in serious injuries to the patient.
The dispensing of medication is often the point at which errors occur. In some tragic situations, hospitalized patients received high doses of medicine intravenously and died as a result. The improper dispensing of medicine is often due to poor communication, distracted staff members or improper training.
On other occasions, the error happens when there is a failure to properly monitor the patient. This occurs when there is no documentation regarding allergies, drug interactions or accounting for renal functions.
Why Do Prescription and Medication Errors Occur?
Distraction is often the cause. Studies have shown that a large percentage of medication errors are due to distraction or a poor and ill-advised effort at multi-tasking. As most know, doctors, especially those on rounds in hospitals, are very busy people. They are constantly going from place to place, speaking to many patients, nurses and other doctors, often while reading and reviewing documentation. When they are asked to write a prescription, it is in the midst of several other simultaneous tasks.
All it takes for a medication error to take place is for a momentary lapse in performing one’s duties.
But not all medication errors happen in busy hospitals. Pharmacists can mix up drugs or administer an incorrect dosage. Again, poor multi-tasking or distraction leads to many mistakes.
How Can Medication Errors Be Prevented?
The obvious answer is for hospitals and other health care environments to minimize distractions. They should create safety protocols in order to eliminate medication errors. For example, they could require doctors to order medication at a specifically scheduled time rather than on the go.
Eliminating interruptions of doctors would also go a long way to curbing problems. Often, other health care staff are asking doctors questions when they are in the middle of reading or writing down information. Focused and uninterrupted work would reduce medication errors.
Double-checking the dosage and frequency of all medications should be mandatory practices employed by all health care professionals. Many errors could be avoided by using this simple tool.
Improved training for pharmacy technicians in order to educate them on the various techniques that could reduce errors should be widely implemented. Too often, health clinics and medical offices rely on poorly trained technicians who cause preventable injuries.
Finally, many doctors are now recording conversations to increase the likelihood of error-free administration of drugs. This practice should become more wide-spread as hospitals recognize the obvious benefits.
If you suffered a serious injury due to a mistake in medication or prescription drugs, then you must act quickly and contact a medical malpractice law firm. There is a time limit for filing a lawsuit.
Please contact us for more information about your case so that we may determine the best course of action.
You can count on our total dedication to you. We rely on the best experts to help us evaluate your case. With our firm on your side, you will have an attorney directly available to you. Contact us at 202-330-6290 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a free initial consultation.
What Can We Do As Patients To Help Ourselves?
Be Your Own Boss
It’s your body and your health. Ask many questions. Demand full and complete answers. Don’t be shy. Ask about side effects and benefits of a recommended medication.
Read up on health care issues. Try to become more familiar with diseases, drugs and treatments. This way you are in a better position to demand high quality health care.
Don’t Travel Alone
Having a family member or friend accompany you to a doctor’s appointment can make it easier to ask critical questions and to remember important information.