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Protecting Yourself Against Common Medication Errors

Prescription errors are one of the most common medical mistakes that occur in the U.S, seriously injuring or killing more than 1.5 million people annually and resulting in $3.5 billion in hospital costs every year, according to a study by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

While it’s difficult for consumers to change the current drug-prescribing procedures, they can take steps and measures to protect themselves against medication mishaps.

Be Informed

The most important thing you can do to prevent medical errors is to be informed. This means, you should know exactly what drugs you are taking and how these drugs interact with other meds, herbal remedies, supplements, and foods.

·    Make a list of all the prescription and over-the counter drugs you are taking, including the amount and time you take each. Show the list to your doctor.
·    When you are prescribed a new medication, don’t leave the doctor’s office without knowing the name of the drug, its purpose, the recommended dosage, and possible side effects. Write everything down yourself.
·    Make sure your prescription is in legible handwriting. Ask the doctor to rewrite it if it is too hard to read.
·    Always check the name and dosage amounts on the drug label against what the doctor recommended when picking up a prescription. If you have difficulty reading it, ask someone to read it to you.
·    Don’t leave the pharmacy until a pharmacist has explained how to take the drug, its adverse effects, and what to do if they occur.
·    Follow the directions you were given exactly. Failing to listen to the doctor and pharmacists can also result in medication errors.

Medication errors also commonly occur in hospitals—when a nurse or other hospital personnel gives a patient the wrong drug or wrong dose. It is vital that the patient, their family members, and the drug administering nurse check the name on the medication against the patient’s hospital bracelet to ensure mistakes don’t happen.

Injured from a medication error? Please contact us today to learn how you may be eligible to recover your damages through a medical malpractice lawsuit. 

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