The Dangers of Medication Errors

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Danger of MedicationIn a report last updated October of last year the  FDA declared that medication errors cause at least one death per day and injure about 1.3 million Americans annually. The wrong medication being prescribed by a physician is only one of the many errors that may contribute to these statistics.

Miscommunication between the physician and the patient is another cause of this problem. The patient may not properly follow the directions or the directions may be ambiguous or even erroneous.

There can also be confusion when a generic drug is substituted for the original medicine prescribed.  Even though generic drugs can deliver the same benefits as the “name brand” medications, the dosing required or timing of administration could be different.

Some medicines may also not mix well with others that the patient is taking. When this happens very dangerous consequences may occur, including injury and even death. The physician who makes this mistake will be most likely be held liable in a Medical Malpractice lawsuit.

Other problems with medications that can potentially lead to complications occur when the product has been repackaged incorrectly or when there is poor monitoring of the patient by licensed professionals once the medicine is taken. These types of errors occur frequently in hospital settings due in part to confusing orders that are difficult to understand or overlapping shifts that lead to multiple staff members who are all relying on notes from the previous shift to provide care for a single patient.

And the patient is not immune to making errors either. Some do not read the instructions fully and may take the wrong pill before dinner when it is not supposed to be taken on an empty stomach. With all the medications available and being prescribed it is no wonder that miscommunication and issues following directions have become so prevalent.

Some medications may not react well with certain foods and the patient needs to be made aware of this as well. Cholesterol medication in the form of statins for instance may be blocked from absorption by grapefruit juice. This can lead to toxic levels of the drug remaining in the blood stream and possibly causing liver damage.

Even the drug store professional who is also along the distribution chain may be liable for injuring a patient by placing the wrong dosage or instructions for use on the pill container. When one of these or critical mistakes takes place the one who suffers the most is of course the patient. Medical malpractice cases including those involving medication errors can have the most devastating consequences.

It is the medical professional’s place to ensure that the patient has been made aware of why the medication is being taken as well as any specific instructions that make taking the medication safe for consumption. The Badgley Law Group is an excellent legal team with the experience in the Florida medical malpractice field.  Our team is well versed in getting to the facts in order to determine what went wrong in cases where a medication leads to injury or death. If a medication error has harmed you or a member of your family meet with us for a free consultation to find out how we can help.

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