When we think of medical malpractice, our minds often go to those victims who may have been injured during surgery or during a stay at the hospital. Unfortunately, thousands of patients die each year in the United States as a result of a medication error.
What is a Medication Error?
After suffering an injury as a result of a medical professional’s medication error, you may be wondering how this could happen. Medication errors can be caused by a number of factors. Unfortunately most instances of medication errors could have been avoided had a medical professional in charge of your medication or prescription used proper care.
Here are some common causes of medication errors that can result from a medical professional’s negligence:
- Misread Dosage. The medical professional filling a prescription or administering a dosage sometimes prescribes too much or too little medication. (for example, instead of .1 mg of a drug given, it is misread as 1.0 mg.)
- Ignored Medical History. When a patient’s medical history is ignored, they can suffer severe injury if allergic to the prescribed drug. It can also be combined with medications that make for a deadly combination.
- Improper Monitoring of Patient. If a drug with potentially dangerous side effects is prescribed or administered, careful monitoring is often necessary. Failure to do so can result in serious injury or death for a patient.
When an individual is harmed by a medication, it is grounds for a valid lawsuit only if the injury or illness from the medication error is a result of a medical professional’s negligence.
Any time a prescription is written, numerous medical professionals must perform mandatory and crucial tasks before the prescription is filled and given to the patient. An error by any of the individuals who have to handle a prescription can cause a disastrous outcome for the patient.
Most instances of medication errors could have been avoided had the medical professional in charge of your medication or prescription used proper care.
How Do Medication Errors Occur?
Medication errors have been identified as one of the most common, yet preventable medical errors. Medication errors can come about at many stages, including the prescribing state, the dispensing stage, administration of the drug. In fact, a recent study by the FDA concluded that 41% of all fatal medication errors are as a result of giving an improper dosage.
Drug errors can sometimes occur because the doctor did not realize there was a potentially serious interaction with another medication the patient was already taking. Or, a doctor could incorrectly prescribe the wrong drug or continually prescribe an unnecessary drug, causing addiction.
The “5 Rights” to Avoid Medication Errors
The Institute for Safe Medicine Practices (ISMP) has studied the problem of medication errors extensively. They have identified some of the more error prone drugs and common errors in an effort to educate healthcare providers in how to avoid medication mistakes.
Patient Safety Advocates have a “5 rights” of safe medication use that all healthcare providers should have memorized. They are:
- Right PATIENT
- Right MEDICATION
- Right TIME
- Right DOSE
- Right ROUTE OF ADMINISTRATION
Hiring An Experienced Dallas Medication Errors Lawyer
If you or a loved one were seriously injured when a medical professional was negligent and commits a medication error, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. We’d like to assist you with your case by offering you a free consultation to determine whether or not you have a case and are able to receive compensation for your loss.
We understand the emotional and financial hardships placed on a family following the unexpected death of a loved one. We realize we cannot help ease the emotional pain caused by a loved one’s death. We can, however, be committed to pursuing maximum compensation to help ease the financial burden created by this loss.
Errors in any of these areas can, and does, lead to patient harm. If you or a loved one were victim to a medication error, and as a result suffered a serious injury or death, the team at Van Wey Law may be able to help. Please, contact us for a free consultation with a Dallas medication errors lawyer today to tell us your story.