Medication errors refer to the incorrect prescribing, dispensing, or administering of a drug for medical treatment. They cause patient needless suffering and even death. The statistics illustrate how prevalent this problem is. Every year in the United States, medication errors occur over 7 million times and cause 7,000 deaths. The economic cost is staggering – over $20 billion annually.
Common Medication Errors
A medication error can happen in many ways:
- Most of the time, it’s a dosing mistake. This occurs when a healthcare provider administers a dose greater than or lesser than prescribed. Another common way is to mistakenly give a second dose to a patient who has already received one.
- Related to dosing mistakes are timing errors. The healthcare provider fails to administer the medication or fails to do so in a timely manner.
- Prescribing errors are the incorrect selection of a medication based on misdiagnosis or neglect.
- With time, a drug deteriorates physically or chemically and is no longer effective. A pharmacist may use the deteriorated pills instead of disposing of them.
- Failure to assess patient response to a drug and not making any necessary adjustments in dosage or even stopping its use.
- It’s a pharmacy error. The pharmacist supplies the wrong pills, or the wrong size of pills, or puts incorrect information on the label. For example, for a patient who is supposed to take one five-milligram pill, they may receive a bottle with a label stating they should take five pills.
- Doctor’s handwriting. Most prescriptions today are submitted electronically, so the old problem of misreading physician prescriptions is going away. However, it’s been substituted by a new error – the physician incorrectly enters the prescription electronically.
- The patient experiences an adverse drug interaction. For example, they take a new medication that interacts negatively with a medication they’ve been taking for a while. For example, bromocriptine (used for infertility and other issues) and pseudoephedrine (used for nasal congestion) should not be prescribed together as their interaction can cause seizures and even death.
Proving Medication Error and Available Damages
When prescribing, dispensing, or administering medicine, your healthcare provider must use that level of care, which under the circumstances, is acceptable and appropriate for other reasonably prudent healthcare providers. If they fail to meet this standard of care, you may be able to sue them for an injury their failure caused you.
Damages possibly available in a medical malpractice case include economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.
Economic damages are financial reimbursement for the costs associated with the injury. These include medical expenses and lost wages. Non-economic damages are those such as pain and suffering and loss of companionship. Punitive damages penalize the defendant for their misconduct. To establish these damages, your healthcare provider must have acted with reckless indifference to your health. This rarely applies in the context of medication errors.
Your Jacksonville Medication Error Attorneys
At The Doctor Lawyer Firm, our top-notch lawyers are here for you if you or a loved one suffered due to a medication error or other medical malpractice. We’ll work hard to provide you the best representation in your claim for damages. Call us today at (833) 633-6257 or contact us online.