A good level of trust between a patient and doctor is mutually beneficial. It ensures the doctor can provide accurate, sufficient treatment and gives the patient peace of mind. In most cases, medical professionals live up to expected standards, treating patients with timely, thorough care and prescribing appropriate medications. However, due to an inaccurate diagnosis or negligence or error by a doctor, hospital staff or pharmacy, there are times that the wrong medication or dosage amount is prescribed. There are three categories of prescription drug errors:
- Dispensing the wrong medication
- Giving the patient the wrong drug dosage (the most common)
- Failing to account for known drug allergies or harmful interactions with other medications the patient is taking
Several national studies have estimated that up to 8% of medical prescriptions are incorrectly filled and that in hospitals, nursing homes and long-term care facilities an average of one mistake per patient per day is made. While the vast majority of these mistakes may go unnoticed and not lead to serious injury, some prescription drug errors can lead to serious side effects, sickness, disability or a patient’s death.
The Food and Drug Administration reports that medication errors result in an estimated 7,000 deaths per year in the U.S. as well as hundreds of thousands of injuries. Though it is often not disclosed to their loved ones, patients in nursing homes and long term care facilities are often the most susceptible to these errors. Patients who are prescribed highly addictive pharmaceuticals are also at a heightened risk, since doctors may fail to thoroughly assess the patient’s history, closely monitor their progress and address any addiction issues right away.
Medical malpractice involving prescription drug mistakes is a preventable problem. Simple steps can be taken to double check medications and clearly write prescriptions. When a physician, pharmacist or other health care provider prescribes the wrong drug or dosage or neglects to warn the patient of potential risks, the medical professional may be held accountable for resulting injury or death.
Okun, Oddo & Babat specializes in the representation of victims who have suffered serious personal injuries. We represent accident victims in all areas of personal injury arising out of automobile accidents, medical malpractice, hospital negligence, defective products and drugs, premises liability, construction site accidents and wrongful death. We handle civil litigation and trials in both the State and Federal Courts. Contact us to arrange a consultation with one of our experiences attorneys.
Article by Shea Bergesen for Lavery Design Associates, Ltd.
copyright 2013. This article may not be reproduced without permission from the author.