Medication Errors: A Guide in Brief
Posted on behalf of Goldberg Finnegan, LLC on Jun 16, 2014 in Medical Malpractice
The phrase medication error may bring to mind a patient being given the wrong medication, or too much/ too little of a drug. In reality, there are myriad ways a medication error can occur, and numerous factors that weigh heavily on the outcome of the error.
In this brief guide to medication errors in medical facilities, Goldberg Finnegan Law has compiled the basics of what can go wrong when drugs are dispensed, how and why.
As always, we encourage anyone who suspects abuse or negligence of a loved one to call the authorities, report it, and consider contacting a medical malpractice lawyer.
How are Medication Errors Defined?
A medication error can take the form of physicians orders that are disobeyed or incorrectly written, manufacturers specifications that are not followed, improper or incomplete pharmacy fillings, medications that are prescribed that adversely react to other medications you are on, or behaviors that are not in accordance with acceptable professional standards or medical standards governing the professional providing the service. Though they typically occur during administration of prescribed drugs, medication errors can occur by several different means.
Errors during the Med Pass
Administration or dispensation of the patients drug is usually when an error will occur. The med pass, as it is usually known, follows a rigid schedule where a staff member will (typically) use a cart to carry the medication from patient to patient in the facility and dispense each drug as indicated by the patients records and physicians orders.
While these procedures should be clearly defined, mistakes can still occur.
How and When Errors Happen
During drug administration, errors can happen if the person providing the medications fails to shake medicines that specify they must be shaken, allow air bubbles to form in injectable drugs, do not provide adequate fluids to take with the medication, crush pills with directions advising against doing so, or other negligent behaviors are performed.
Furthermore, poor communication between the staff members, nurses and doctors can lead to grievous errors. Medical facilities may also experience a high volume of patients and frequent shift changes for personnel. A heavy workload can contribute to mistakes with medication, and commonly cause distractions for the staff, which may lead to improper administration of important medications.
Any one of these scenarios could lead to an over-dosage or under-dosage of the patients prescribed drugs. Although not every improper dosage will result in serious consequences, patients whose health depends on a rigid administration of medications may be at risk.
Medication Errors and Medical Malpractice
If your loved one was subjected to a medication error you could have a claim of medical malpractice against the healthcare professional or pharmacy whose care they were in when it happened. If you have questions about medical malpractice, Goldberg Finnegan Law can provide you with a free consultation and help you determine the next steps to take in the matter.