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Pain Medication Mistakes and Medical Malpractice

Individuals are affected by medication differently according to many factors, including their unique body chemistry. Dosing can require some testing to ensure the patient gains benefit of the medication at the right level for their body and needs. Doctors and other prescribing professionals must pay careful attention to the entire process, as well as patient feedback, for safety and optimum wellness.

It is also important that pharmacists pay close attention to their part in the prescription process. A pharmacist is responsible for ensuring the provided medication, dose and patient instructions are as prescribed by the doctor. A mistake by a pharmacist can cause patients side effects and even extreme harm. Patients are vulnerable to medications that are improperly filled, or to those with incorrect dosing or instructions. It is possible for a patient to be fatally injured through prescription mistakes.

When a patient is injured or dies from prescription medication mistakes, these issues fall under medical malpractice law. Patients or their families can work with a personal injury lawyer to resolve their complaint and gain compensation for their injuries or wrongful death through a medical malpractice law suit.

Avoidable Mistakes in Prescription Medication

Most pharmacist medication fulfillment mistakes are preventable, according to the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention fact sheet (NCCMERP). Patients can certainly misuse their medication toward personal harm, but many errors are made by the healthcare professionals, themselves. Physicians can prescribe incorrectly. Their office staff or the doctors themselves may order the medication improperly. Or the pharmacist can make mistakes in filling the prescription. Any of these parties may shoulder fault when a patient overdose or reaction occurs due to medication errors. Such errors can lead to a medical malpractice law suit.

Responsibility for evaluating prescription medication mistakes falls on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) . The FDA has investigated over 100,000 medication errors since the year 2000. This agency has also conducted studies to evaluate the error reports involving fatalities.

Common mistakes in the prescription medication process discovered by the FDA include:

Incorrect Dosing

As part of the FDA’s research, it was concluded that 41 percent of patient deaths from prescription medication were due to incorrect dosing. Almost half of evaluated cases involved patients over the age of 60 years. Conclusions by the FDA include speculation that this age group is vulnerable because of the potential for multiple prescription interaction.

Wrong Medication

Patient side effects and interaction with their unique body chemistry are reasons why many deaths occur when the wrong medication is prescribed. When the body absorbs unneeded drugs, its reaction can be unpredictable. If a doctor mistakenly prescribes unnecessary medications, patients can suffer severe injuries, permanent damage or even death.

If a pharmacist is not attentive in his or her work, an entirely different drug that is similar in appearance may be provided to a patient. Beyond inattention, pharmacists can misread drug abbreviations or may not be able to correctly decipher a doctor’s handwriting. When these mistakes occur, the FDA reviews drug brand names, labels and packaging to determine whether changes should be made to eliminate some of this risk.

Patient Safety

The FDA asserts that patients can help reduce medication risk by asking questions to the pharmacist. This leads to greater attention to the medication by the filling pharmacy, serving also as a stop-gap through review of the prescribed drug. Patients should always be aware of what medication they are prescribed, dosing information and other details before the prescription is picked up. They should also double check the pharmacist’s provided medications to ensure the doctor’s information matches what has been provided. By asking the pharmacologist about the dose, side effects, precautions and method of taking the medication, patients can help keep themselves safe.

Injuries Resulting from Medication Mistakes

Side effects are one of the first indicators to a patient that he or she is not taking the correct medication for the illness or issue. Lasting damage to the body can occur, particularly at higher doses of drugs, so it is important to pay attention to even slight side effects. Such symptoms of incorrect medications include:

  • Headaches
  • Strokes
  • Seizures
  • Numbing of the body
  • Aches and pains
  • Heart attack
  • Psychological problems
  • Emotional changes
  • Other issues

Severe consequences can develop when the wrong medication is used. If patients notice any ill side effects of their prescribed drug, it is important that they immediately contact their prescribing doctor for guidance.

Contacting a Lawyer about Medication Mistakes

When a doctor does not provide immediate help for a prescribed medication’s side effects and lasting damage or injury occurs, patients can pursue help through a medical malpractice law suit. Prescription errors often lead to severe health problems and even permanent disability. An attorney that is trained in medical malpractice, also known as a personal injury attorney, can help patients gain the money they need to cover expenses arising from the mistake and gain additional healthcare treatment. There are a wide range of expenses that arise from loss of a loved one due to this type of malpractice. A personal injury and medical malpractice lawyer also helps family members through those issues as part of a legal claim.

If you or someone you love have been injured through medication mistakes or other medical errors, a medical malpractice attorney can provide insight into the legal claim process and your case’s potential for resolution. Call Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law Accident Law today at (602) 691-7278. for a free, no-obligation consultation regarding your medical malpractice case.


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