How to Prevent Medication Errors
Posted on behalf of Phillips Law Group on Jan 25, 2019 in Medical Malpractice
Prescribing or administering the wrong medication can be catastrophic and lead to injury, illness, disability and even death. Most medication errors can be prevented if physicians and pharmacists adhere to proper procedures and protocol. There are several things patients can do to minimize their chances of experiencing a medication error. This includes taking an active role in your health care.
If you were injured because of a medication error, schedule a free consultation with us today. We can review your case and determine if you are entitled to pursue compensation for your damages.
The Phoenix medical malpractice attorneys at Phillips Law Group have provided the following information below to help reduce your risk of medication mix-ups and mistakes.
Types of Medication Errors
Medication errors are one of the most common medical mistakes that can lead to malpractice. There are many different types of medication errors, such as:
- Selection of medication – Some medication errors are caused when health care providers select a medication that is not appropriate, has dangerous side effects based on the patient’s medical history or can react badly with another type of medication.
- Writing errors – Other errors occur when a health care provider does not clearly write the prescription, or the pharmacist does not read it properly.
- Dosage errors – Dosage errors occur when a health care provider prescribes or administers the wrong dosage of medication.
- Administering the medication incorrectly – These errors may involve administering the wrong medication, the wrong dosage or the method of administration. It can also involve not administering the medication at proper intervals or for the wrong duration.
- Monitoring errors – These errors occur when a health care provider fails to monitor treatment and make changes to the medication.
Why Do Medication Errors Happen?
Medication errors can happen for any number of reasons. These errors can occur in variety of medical settings, including hospitals, doctors’ offices and pharmacies.
The main causes of medication errors by health care providers include:
- Lack of familiarity with the medication
- Inadequate information about the patient
- Poor communication with other health care providers
- Poor communication with the patient
- Confusing one medication for another that sounds alike
- Confusing medical abbreviations on prescriptions
- Poor penmanship
- Poor record-keeping
Ways You Can Reduce Medication Errors
As a patient, you must be vigilant in protecting your health. Some ways that you can help reduce your risk of a medication error include:
- Keeping your health care provider informed – Let your health care provider know if you are taking any supplements or over-the-counter medication that could affect taking a new drug. This also includes any allergies or adverse reactions to a particular medication in the past. If you have diabetes, kidney disease or liver disease, these medical conditions can have a significant impact on the type of medication you should be prescribed.
- Becoming familiar with your medication – When prescribed a medication, ask your health care provider if it is possible to type out the name of the drug to avoid penmanship or abbreviation problems. Write down its name, dose, form of taking the medication, frequency, duration and purpose of the medication. Make sure all the information on your prescription is correct when picking it up from your pharmacist.
- Asking questions with new medications – Take some time to speak with your pharmacist about your new medication. Ask if you are taking the brand or generic version of the medication, what to do if you accidently take more than prescribed, any possible side effects and if there are any food, drinks, or activities you should avoid while taking this medicine.
- Participating in medication reconciliation – Keep an updated list of all medications that you take, including supplements, herbal medicines and over-the-counter medications. Share this list with your health care provider so that you can avoid negative drug interactions, dosing errors and other possible complications. This is especially important when visiting a new health care provider.
Contact a Qualified Phoenix Lawyer Right Away
We expect physicians to carefully analyze medical records and prescribe medications without harmful interactions and entrust pharmacists to properly fill prescriptions without receiving the wrong drug altogether. However, medication errors happen more often than you realize.
If you were harmed by negligent health care provider due to a medication error, an experienced personal injury lawyer in Phoenix can help. We can discuss your case during a free, no obligation legal consultation. If you have a valid claim, we can pursue maximum compensation on your behalf. We charge no upfront fees and you only pay for our services if we help you recover compensation.