Understanding Medication Errors

It’s estimated that a single pharmacist fills up to 25 prescriptions an hour. This is an extremely delicate process, and the pressure a pharmacist feels is rarely mitigated by a line of desperate and restless patients. As the saying goes, “to err is human,” and pharmacists can easily (and often) make devastating mistakes when they’re tired or overwhelmed. Nonetheless, this is one field where a single mistake can easily cost someone their life. In fact, medication errors reportedly harm about 1.5 million people each year.

How Are Medication Errors Caused?

We rely on our medical providers to prescribe and dispense accurate and effective medications. The only way that you can protect yourself from suffering the dangerous physical and cognitive side-effects of a pharmaceutical error is to understand how they happen and pay attention to how the drugs impact your overall physical condition.

  Medication errors are frequently caused by:

  • Doctors prescribing the wrong medication
  • Doctors prescribing the wrong dosage
  • Pharmacists misreading the prescription order
  • Pharmacists making a mistake in the formula process
  • Pharmacists mislabeling a prescription
  • Pharmacists dispensing the wrong medication

According to the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention, a pharmaceutical error, or medication error, is “any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the health care professional, patient, or consumer. Such events may be related to professional practice, health care products, procedures, and systems, including prescribing, order communication, product labeling, packaging, nomenclature, compounding, dispensing, distribution, administration, education, monitoring, and use.”

From the moment your prescription is ordered by a doctor, there are countless opportunities for a medical staffer to make an administrative error. Prescriptions contain a lot of important information including the type of medication a patient needs and the necessary dosage. Unfortunately, doctors rarely follow-up with an order and are known for their terrible handwriting. Pharmacists may call in to confirm a hard-to-read prescription and never receive a response.  Most pharmacists don’t have time to wait, and just fill orders based on guesswork and hope. However, prescription errors can lead to dangerous medical complications if a patient is given the wrong dosage or takes a drug that harms their system.

The best way to protect yourself is to ask the doctor about the prescription during your appointment. You can write down the exact details and instructions to make sure they match what the pharmacist gives you. When you first take the medication, be wary of any side-effects that could indicate a formulaic error.  

File a Medical Malpractice Claim Today

If you’ve suffered harm due to the negligence of a medical professional, contact the Lexington pharmacy error attorney at Goeing Goeing & McGuin, PLLC. Our legal team has over 40 years of collective experience and the resources and connections to properly investigate your case. We have recovered millions on behalf of our clients and want to help you achieve a positive case outcome.

Contact Goeing Goeing & McGuin, PLLC at (859) 534-9327 to schedule a free consultation.

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