Prescription-medication errors are a common form of medical negligence. The Food and Drug Administration estimates that over 1.3 million Americans are harmed by medication errors each year, some fatally.
Sometimes a patient is at fault by failing to follow clear instructions. In other circumstances, however, physicians (and/or affiliated hospitals), nurses, pharmacists, and drug manufacturers may be responsible. The most widespread mistakes include patients receiving the wrong medication and being prescribed incorrect dosages. In addition, healthcare providers might fail to account for a patient’s drug allergies, overlook potential adverse drug interactions, or neglect to inform patients of common side effects. Manufacturer and pharmacy mislabeling issues can also harm patients.
Miscommunication and Medical Negligence
Miscommunication between physicians and pharmacists can play a significant role, too. Many medication names sound alike when spoken or have similar spellings to others, which can lead to errors. Notorious physician penmanship can contribute as well. In many areas of the country, the transition from handwritten prescriptions to electronic prescriptions has been a godsend.
Patients should inform their physicians and pharmacists of all over-the-counter medications and dietary supplements they are taking. These can negatively interact with prescription medications.
It’s advisable for patients to utilize the same pharmacy for all their prescriptions, which can be invaluable for the pharmacy in keeping tabs on potential drug interactions. Roughly one-third of U.S. adults take five or more prescription medications each day.
Ask questions of your physician and/or pharmacist; obtain clarification. Check the medicine container to verify the prescription and that your name is on it.
Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney If You've Been Wronged
If you are injured by a medication error, contact me by filling out a request form or by calling (404) 474-0804 to protect your rights.