Prescription Errors

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In 2002 alone, prescription errors resulted in at least 100,000 patients being given the wrong medication. Seven thousand people died that year as a result of serious prescription errors. Prescription errors are one of the most common medical mistakes that occur in hospitals, doctor's offices, pharmacies, and nursing homes across the nation. When a medical professional fails to ensure that the right patient receives the right dose of the right medication, they can be liable for any resulting damages that are caused by their medical negligence.

Causes of Prescription Errors

Prescription errors due to medical malpractice can be the product of many mistakes.

  • ordering a medication for a patient with known allergies to that drug
  • current medications could adversely react with the new medication
  • persons with special health concerns, such as liver or kidney problems, may suffer as a result of prescription errors when an inappropriate or unsafe medicine is administered
  • wrong medication or the wrong dose being administered altogether

Doctors are notorious for illegible handwriting. If a pharmacist is unable to read their handwriting or misreads the instructions they may make prescription errors that could be injurious to that patient's health. When a person receives the wrong medication, they are most likely not receiving the necessary treatment they need. A person may actually develop health symptoms as a result of prescription errors. These drug reactions may be mistaken for another condition and treated inappropriately with additional medications.

Prescription Errors Involving Children

Prescription errors can be particularly dangerous when they involve children and infants. Young children are much more vulnerable to injuries because of dose related prescription errors than adults are. Children don't have the immune systems or the chemical tolerance to handle taking the wrong medicine as well as adults. Evaluating specific age and weight factors are of particular importance in pediatrics to ensure that prescription errors are avoided. It is estimated that one in every eighteen prescriptions written for children involve prescription errors related to the type of medication or dosage.

Preventing Prescription Errors

While there is absolutely no excuse for a medical professional's negligence, there are some actions that consumers can take to avoid prescription errors. Checking all medications to ensure that the information is correct, asking the pharmacist about drug interactions and side effects, and reading available information on the drug you are given can help you catch any possible prescription errors that may have occurred.

Contact An Attorney Near You

Medical research has found that 90 percent of all prescription errors are preventable when proper medical protocol is adhered to. If you or a loved one has suffered injury or illness as a result of prescription errors, you may wish to learn more about your legal rights and options. To learn more about medical malpractice involving prescription errors, please contact us to speak with a qualified and experienced attorney in your area.

Related Prescription Error News

Oct 10, 2008 - Medical Malpractice Case Goes to Supreme Court 

Aug 20, 2007 - Family Awarded $25.8M in Prescription Error Suit 

May 23, 2007 - Ohio Doctor Accused of Over Prescribing Painkillers

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Prescription Errors