Many people routinely have medication prescribed to them by their physicians and assume that when they have these prescriptions filled that they are getting the correct drug and dosage that their physician indicated. However, there is an alarming amount of errors that are made at pharmacies and even in medical facilities when filling these orders. It is estimated that over 50 million of these errors happen every year in the U.S., leading to many illnesses, injuries and even deaths.
Types Of Medication And Pharmacy Errors In Hospitals
There are many ways the wrong medicine is given to a patient. In most cases, it is a simple human error that can cause these detrimental mix-ups that occur daily all around the country. Common errors are misreading handwriting, misunderstanding a verbal request, data entry errors and just sloppy organization within a pharmacy or medicine dispensing area. Common types of errors that occur are:
- Wrong dosage. The right medicine may be given, but at the wrong dosage for the patient.
- Same color, different pill. Many errors happen due to pills that look similar
- Similar names. Many drugs may sound alike or even look similar in name, leading to filling the wrong drug or entering the wrong name into a computer or patient file.
Injuries That Can Be Caused By Medication Errors
Taking the wrong medication or the wrong dosage can be very dangerous for many reasons. Wrong medications may cause allergic reactions, interact poorly with other medications the patient is taking and may not be safe for anyone to take unless prescribed. The other side of the coin is if a patient is taking the wrong medication, they are not taking the medication that they need, which can be even more concerning. A few of the possible injuries and adverse drug events that can happen from taking the wrong medication or wrong dosage include:
- Severe allergic reactions
- Heart problems
The first signs of an adverse drug event should always be taken seriously. Common reactions can be a rash, fever, dizziness, vision or hearing problems, seizures, heart rate changes or breathing issues. It is important to get medical assistance as soon as possible and have medications checked for accuracy.
Inpatient Medication Errors Occurring During An Admission to a Medical Facility
Pharmacies are not the only ones to blame when it comes to medication errors. Many are done in medical facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes. The danger is that these patients are already in poor health and need to be receiving the correct medications for their illnesses. Common issues that occur in an in-patient setting are due to reconciliation errors or not reviewing a patient’s medication care when admitting, transferring and discharging patients. According to the Agency for healthcare Research and Quality:
- One-third of patients have errors made to their medication at admission to a hospital or nursing home
- One-third of patients have errors made during transfer from one area in a medical facility to another
- 14% have medication errors made upon discharge
In addition, the Institute of Medicine estimates that up to 98,000 patients die each year in hospitals due to medication errors.
Are You A Victim Of A Hospital’s Medication Error?
If you have been injured or have a loved one that has been harmed or lost their life due to a medication error, we understand the frustration and anger you must feel to be victim of such a preventable mistake. We are experienced medical lawyers that will fight for your right for compensation due to your injury or the injury or loss of a loved one. We invite you to tell us your story at a free consultation at our office or a location of your choice.
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