Medication errors are some of the most common forms of medical malpractice. They can result in severe injury and possibly even death in some situations.
While you may not be able to prevent a doctor from making a mistake, there are many steps you can take to help ensure you do not take the wrong medication and suffer an injury. The qualified Silver Spring medical malpractice attorneys at Goldberg Finnegan can help you obtain compensation if you or a loved one were injured because of a medication error.
Types of Medication Errors
There are many types of medication errors that can cause harm to patients. Some of the most frequent errors involve the wrong type of medication or the improper administration of this medication:
- Prescription errors – These errors occur when the wrong medication is prescribed to a patient. This may be due to lack of sufficient information, such as prescribing a medication before determining the real causes of the patient’s medical condition or before asking about medication allergies. These errors can also be caused when a doctor’s writing is not understood and the wrong medication is provided by the pharmacist.
- Administration errors – Administration errors occur when the patient is not given the medication properly, such as not being advised to take the medication with food, being given the wrong dose, being given incorrect information about when the drug should be taken, or the drug being administered to the wrong part of the body, such as with injections.
- Dispensing errors – Dispensing errors are usually the result of a pharmacist’s malpractice, such as providing the wrong medication, the wrong formulation or the wrong label.
- Monitoring errors – These errors occur when a patient is not properly monitored for signs of distress or adverse effects.
These types of problems can be prevented when health care providers treat their patients with care. If their carelessness leads to the patient sustaining an injury, the patient may be able to pursue a claim against these health care providers for the damages that he or she sustained.
Why Do These Errors Happen?
Medication errors can occur in nearly any setting. They may be due to carelessness by nurses, doctors, anesthesiologists, hospitals, pharmacies and other medical providers. Medication errors are often due to the following reasons:
- Lack of communication between health care providers
- Lack of communication between the patient and doctor
- Similar names of drugs
- Similar-looking medications
- Poor penmanship
- Medical abbreviations
What You Can Do to Avoid an Error
Fortunately, there are many ways that you can be proactive to help avoid being the victim of an error. Informed patients can often help prevent medication errors by taking note of what their doctor says about a medication that is prescribed, including the name, dosage, strength, timing and instructions that come with the medication. Check the medication after receiving it from the pharmacist to be sure it is the right one and fits what the doctor told you.
You should also learn or ask about potential side effects and any potential allergies to the medication. Discuss this with your doctor when he or she prescribes the medication so he or she can double check that it will not cause an allergic reaction. You should also check to be sure the medication is actually used to treat your condition.
You should also not be afraid to discuss these things with your pharmacist when you are prescribed the medication. The pharmacist can answer your questions and let you know if you may need to discuss the drug with your doctor before taking it.
Make sure to notify your health care provider if you are currently pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant. Carry an up-to-date list of your medications with you. Consider using the same pharmacy for all of your prescriptions so that all of your history is in one place. This way the pharmacist can review everything if you ask questions.
Contact an Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If you believe that you were harmed due to the careless acts of your health care provider that resulted in a medication error, it is important that you contact an experienced Silver Spring medical malpractice lawyer. The attorneys at Goldberg Finnegan are trusted litigators who can pursue maximum compensation on your behalf.
We provide a free initial consultation so that you can learn about your options for recovery. Because we work on a contingency fee basis, you only pay for our legal services if we help you recover on your claim.