Preventable medication errors occur at alarming rates
Physicians, nurses, pharmacists and medical technicians are among the professionals that people trust the most. Most health care providers and pharmacists make every effort to help their patients and customers. But, despite their efforts, every year about 1.5 million people are injured due to medication errors. The tragedy is that nearly half of the medication errors are preventable. Many of these errors are fatal. In fact, medical errors are the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer.
Leading causes of medication errors
Preventable medication errors happen in medical facilities (hospitals, doctor’s offices, clinics, nursing homes) and at home. According to a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) report, the most common causes of medication errors include:
- Poor communication. Poor communication happens among healthcare professionals. For example: your pharmacist may misinterpret your doctor’s handwriting or transcribe the prescription incorrectly or your doctor may incorrectly write a prescription. Poor communication also happens when healthcare professionals talk to their patients. Patients can misunderstand or misremember the instructions given to them by their doctor or pharmacist.
- Improper dosage or packaging and wrong medication. You may be told or given the wrong dosage for your medication or you may be accidentally given the wrong medication. Sometimes pharmacists repackage drugs and can inadvertently give you the wrong amount of medication. In a hospital or other medical facility, medication errors are sometimes caused by a nurse or technician giving you medications that were meant for another patient.
- Drug interactions and allergic reactions. Doctors and pharmacists should make you aware of adverse reactions from drug interactions and/or allergies. This includes interactions with other prescription medications, over the counter medications, alcohol and drugs as well as foods. For example, most doctors and pharmacists advise patients to avoid drinking wine or any other type of alcohol with anti-depressant drugs and most recommend avoiding grapefruit if you take some cholesterol-lowering drugs.
If you are hurt because of one of these preventable medication errors, it’s not your fault. The doctors, nurses, technicians and pharmacists are accountable. They have an obligation to prevent these medication errors. If you have been injured by a medication error, you should speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Most malpractice lawyers provide a free consultation to determine if you have a claim for medication negligence.
Legal elements required to prove medication negligence
In New York State, to bring a medication negligence claim, you must prove that the healthcare provider failed to care for you according to accepted medical standards. You must also prove that as a result of the medication error, your condition has gotten worse. Medication negligence claims can be difficult to prove in court because gathering the documentation you need to prove negligence can be complicated and time consuming. That’s why it makes sense to contact a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible if you think you are the victim of medication negligence.
Get a free consultation with a Bronx medical malpractice attorney
If you think a medication error might be medication negligence, contact Bronx medical malpractice attorney Evan W. Kohn for a free consultation. He will help you get appropriate compensation for your physical, emotional and financial injuries. Contact The Law Offices of Evan W. Kohn today. Schedule a free medication negligence consultation about your case online or by calling 718-409-5500.