Prescription medications are one of the primary reasons that people seek out professional medical care. Controlled substances are not available over the counter, which means that someone in need of antibiotics or powerful pain relief must see a physician to gain access to those medications.
People trust the drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration to be safe and effective. Patients seeking the care of medical professionals will trust their advice and their administration of the medicines recommended.
However, medication mistakes remain one of the leading causes of serious malpractice claims in the United States. What are some of the situations that may lead to a medication error committed by a professional?
The doctor isn’t familiar with you. One of the biggest concern about medication is the possibility free drug interaction or an adverse medical reaction by the patient. A doctor prescribing a new treatment should know what other medications a person takes and also have an understanding of their recent medical history. When a doctor doesn’t fully review someone’s medical records before prescribing a drug, they may make a mistake that results in an interaction or even an allergic reaction that they could have prevented with more careful review.
A nurse becomes confused or distracted
Nurses or medical aides handing out medication at a hospital or nursing home have to pay very close attention to detail. There are multiple medications that look similar to each other. A nurse could usually hand the wrong medication to one patient when administering drugs to an entire ward.
Receiving the wrong drug might need having a bad reaction to the medication or it could even mean the failure of a treatment regimen.
The pharmacist doesn’t pay close attention
Some prescription errors occur at the pharmacy. The pharmacist might fail to check for medication interactions. A pharmaceutical technician could dispense the wrong drugs or give someone the wrong dose of the right medication. Improper labeling is another issue. Pharmacies are also where some intravenous (IV) medication mistakes may occur, as they may improperly blend the drugs.
Identifying when you are at risk for a medication error can help you prevent one or at least take action if you have been a victim of medication-related medical malpractice.