When a serious medical condition befalls an individual, he or she often must turn to a comprehensive treatment plan. This plan may include surgery and medication. As we have often discussed on this blog, the success of these treatments is usually dependent upon accuracy and timeliness. Although surgical errors and instances of failure to diagnose may grab headlines, medication errors can be just as harmful to unsuspecting patients.
Sadly, medication errors occur much more frequently than many people realize. According to one study, about 1.5 million preventable medication errors happen each year in the U.S. This is troubling to say the least, especially since four out of five adults will take some sort of medication or supplement in any given week. The adverse effects of medication errors can vary in severity, too, with some causing only minor irritation while others can cause death. With so much on the line, the medical profession has tried to actively incorporate safety procedures to reduce and eliminate medication errors.
There are many ways medical professionals are trying to do this. One way is to use multiple patient identifiers to ensure that medication is not given to the wrong patient. Another strategy is to ensure that critical medical conditions that may be significantly impacted based on the specific medication given are highlighted and made known to all of a patient’s medical providers. Doctors have also been instructed to ensure that their handwriting is clear to avoid the misreading of prescriptions and to avoid abbreviations that may be misread. These doctors should also be cognizant of similar sounding drugs and double-check that the proper medication has been prescribed and/or administered.
Of course, despite taking these proactive efforts, medical professionals continue to act negligently, putting innocent and unsuspecting patients in harm’s way. When injuries or death result from medical provider negligence, then a medical malpractice or wrongful death lawsuit may be justified. Those who want to learn more about whether their situation may put them in a position to recover compensation for their damages should consider contacting an experienced law firm of their choosing.