When Patients Suffer Injuries from Medication Errors

Patients rely on their doctors and pharmacists to provide them with the right medications in the proper dosages, and to inform them of any possible drug interactions. Unfortunately, prescription errors are not uncommon and wind up harming numerous patients each year. When a patient is harmed because of a careless mistake by a physician, nurse, or pharmacist, he or she should speak to a malpractice attorney about filing a claim for compensation for their injuries.

Prescription Mistakes Are Quite Common

Prescription errors are more common than the public would like to think and far more common than the medical community is willing to admit. A study published in the medical science journal Clinics reviewed over 7,000 filled prescriptions to determine the frequency, types, and ramifications of medication-dispensing errors.

The researchers found errors in approximately 2.5 percent of prescriptions. Out of the 7,428 prescriptions they evaluated, 179 of them were incorrect.  Another study published in Critical Care Medicine found one preventable error for every five doses of medications administered.The Clinics study also cites a famous 1999 Institute of Medicine report, To Err is Human, that found medication errors cause over 7,000 deaths per year in the United States. 

Types of Medication Errors

Mistakes can occur anywhere along the chain, from a hospital physician to the dispensary. The Clinics study found that the most common mistake was improper dosage, which made up 32 percent of prescription errors. Omission errors made up 30 percent of the errors.

Other types of medication errors are listed below.

  • Unauthorized drugs
  • Not considering a patient’s medical condition when prescribing medication (for instance, conditions such as impaired kidneys means the patients should have a different dose than patients without kidney issues)
  • Incorrect dosage-form error, such as prescribing intramuscular rather than intravenous
  • Not reviewing patients’ allergies prior to writing the prescription
  • Incorrect timing error
  • Deteriorated drug error
  • Filling a prescription with the wrong drug because the prescription was misread (names between drugs look similar, doctor’s handwriting is sloppy)
  • Using the wrong abbreviation
  • Putting the wrong rate or frequency of administration
  • Mistakes making electronic orders
  • Incorrect or insufficient recordkeeping

Seeking Help for Injuries

A patient can suffer serious health complications, long-term consequences, and even die because of a physician’s or pharmacist’s mistake. These types of mistakes simply shouldn’t be happening. “All of the potential adverse drug events and approximately two-thirds of the actual adverse drug events were judged to be preventable,” according to the study in Critical Care Medicine

When a person is injured because of some type of medication error, he or she can file a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit against the appropriate party for financial restitution for their damages. If you or your loved one was injured by a medical professional’s errors, consult a local malpractice attorney to discuss your case. Note that Florida imposes a statute of limitations of two years for medical malpractice, so do not procrastinate in taking action.

We have the resources to determinedly pursue even the toughest cases, contact our attorneys at Chalik & Chalik today for a free consultation. Call 855-529-0269.