When we visit our physician or enter the hospital or clinic we expect that we will be properly cared for by professionals. Unfortunately, medical mistakes happen with all too much frequency. In fact, medical errors are now the third most common cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC. Only heart disease and cancer claim more lives each year in the United States.
How Medication Mistakes Are Made
Of the many types of mistakes that are made, medication errors are among the most common. There are several ways that medication mistakes can occur. A doctor may prescribe the wrong type of medication or include incorrect directions for taking it. A medication might have negative interactions with other medications that the patient is already taking.
A pharmacist might make a mistake when filling the prescription. A patient or caregiver may give the wrong dosage of medication or provide it improperly. Physicians and pharmacists must take care to ensure that the medications they provide to patients are the right type and correct dosage. Caregivers need to take their time to assist patients in taking their medications and in making sure that medication mix-ups do not occur.
Understanding Medical Negligence
Doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other medical professionals are expected to know more than average people about medicine and are held to a high standard of patient care. If a doctor or pharmacist makes an error it may be considered a negligent act because they knew that they could cause serious harm or death to a patient. Patients trust doctors and others with their medical treatment and therefore are susceptible to problems if an error is made.
Most of the time, errors in medications do not cause serious harm and the mistakes are caught before the patient is injured. However, sometimes mistakes can cause severe harm to a patient. Medical mistakes can cause adverse reactions that may be life-threatening. Some medication mistakes can be dangerous and might be particularly harmful to those who are elderly or have compromised immune systems because they may be unable to bounce back.
Preventing Medication Mistakes
While you shouldn’t have to check the work of your doctor or pharmacist you do need to be vigilant and aware of the medications you are taking. When you visit the doctor make sure that you provide a list of other medications that you already take. When you get a prescription filled it is best to discuss the medication with the pharmacist and read the label carefully. If you are unsure about taking a particular medication, contact your physician before you start taking it.
Medication errors by caregivers can happen, particularly in busy nursing care facilities. Check to make sure that the facility has the proper medications for your loved one along with the correct schedule for taking it. Leave a medication schedule with the manager as well as with your loved one so that caregivers can verify the medications.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury due to a medical mistake you may be entitled to compensation. Contact The Bader Law Firm today to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.