Prescription Medication Errors
Although we spend more money on healthcare than any other nation in the world, medical errors are a leading cause of death in the United States. These not only include things like misdiagnosis or misinterpreting test results, but also include things like prescription medication errors. As it turns out, medication errors are one of the leading causes of injury and death among patients. Additionally, prescription medication errors are a leading mistake made in hospitals.
Statistics About Prescription Medication Errors
According to a study by Critical Care Medicine:
- Only 537 hospitals voluntarily provided prescription medication error information between the years 1999 to 2005.
- The most common prescription medication error was the omission of a medication, or delaying/denying medication to a patient.
- The departments with the most prescription medication errors were non-intensive care units at 93.4%
- Only 6.6% of reported errors came from the ICU, although they were more likely to be more serious.
- Hospitals only admit prescription medication errors to patients and their families an underwhelming 2% of the time.
- Over half the time, no action is taken by the hospital after a prescription medication error.
Types of Prescription Medication Errors
There are a number of ways prescription medications errors happen. In addition to the withholding of prescription medications, other such errors are usually divided into six categories:
- Prescribing medications that interact dangerously
- Prescribing the wrong medications to treat a patient’s condition
- Overprescribing unnecessary medications
- Under prescribing necessary medications
- Giving an incorrect dosage for a patient
- Pre-emptively stopping medication before it has taken effect or in such a way that it causes harm
- Prescription medication mixups – giving a patient a medication other than what was prescribed or in an incorrect dose
What To Do If You Suspect a Prescription Medication Error
Always read the side effects of the prescription medication carefully in order to know what is and is not normal when taking them. Patients can ask their pharmacist about side effects when filling their prescription. Patients who experience side effects beyond what is acceptable or who suffer symptoms not listed can be the victims of prescription medication errors. If the condition worsens or new symptoms develop, there may be a prescription medication error. However, the hospital is unlikely to admit their error.
Patients suspecting medication errors should not discontinue their medication treatment without the approval of a doctor. Anyone who suspects an error should seek a second opinion immediately, preferably with a doctor not associated with the hospital or health care system who prescribed them.
Prescription Medication Errors Attorney
Prescription errors in children and adults can have devastating consequences for the patient. If you or someone you know has suffered an injury or death as the result of a prescription medication error, contact the prescription medication error lawyers at Lopez McHugh LLP immediately to discuss your options at no charge.