Being prescribed the wrong medication may sound harmless at first, but the results of taking the wrong drug can be catastrophic and can lead to injury, illness, disability and even death. Most medication errors can be prevented if doctors and pharmacists adhere to proper procedures and protocol. The most common errors usually involve the wrong medication being prescribed or dispensed or incorrect dosing instructions being given to a patient. More often than not, the elderly fall victim to medication errors simply because they take multiple prescription medications on a daily basis. These errors can be particularly harmful to older patients, who are more prone to serious side effects, allergic reactions and other devastating consequences.
The MayoClinic.com defines the most common causes of medication errors as: poor communication between health care providers, poor communication between providers and their patients, sound-alike medication names and medical abbreviations, and illegible prescriptions or confusing directions. Other causes include mislabeling, medication discrepancies, failure to guard against harmful drug interactions, distracted workers and staffing issues either at the hospital, clinic or pharmacy. These types of medication errors can certainly be prevented because they are due to the negligence of healthcare professionals.
As a patient, there are things you can do to minimize your chances of receiving incorrect medication information. All patients should take an active role in their healthcare. Your biggest weapon in the battle against medical errors is knowledge – gained by being aware of your body and its issues and by asking questions and being proactive.
The Centers for Disease Control offers these suggestions to prevent medication errors:
- Know your medicines. Keep a list of the names of your medicines, how much you take, and when you take them. Include over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and supplements and herbs. Take this list to all your doctor visits.
- Read medicine labels and following the directions. Don't take medications prescribed for someone else.
- Take extra caution when giving medicines to children.
- Ask questions. If you don't know the answers to these questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
- Why am I taking this medicine?
- What are the common problems to watch out for?
- What should I do if they occur?
- When should I stop this medicine?
- Can I take this medicine with the other medicines on my list?
Remember that you and your family are your biggest advocates. Doctors and pharmacists should have your best interest in mind, but sometimes this is not the case. If you are harmed by the negligent act of a doctor, nurse, pharmacist or other healthcare professional, you may have to file a malpractice or medical negligence lawsuit with an established law office in order to be compensated for the damage the error has caused you and your family. At Friedman Rodman Frank & Estrada, P.A., we prepare each case for the possibility of trial. Our firm has access to qualified expert witnesses who can assist in the management of your claim. As a result of our thorough preparation, we have a strong record of results.
While we hope to obtain a favorable settlement agreement on your behalf as quickly and efficiently as possible, we have a team of skilled personal injury trial lawyers who are prepared to aggressively pursue maximum compensation for you at trial if the insurance company is not prepared to offer a fair settlement. To schedule a free consultation with one of our Miami medication errors attorneys, call 305-448-8585 or contact us toll free at 877-448-8585. You may also contact us online. To best serve clients throughout South Florida, we have office locations in Miami, Homestead and Naples.