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What are Common Causes of Medication Mistakes?

Posted By Regan Zambri Long, PLLC || 16-Jun-2017

Medication mistakes have the potential to cause permanent injuries or death to patients. Take for example the recent case of a Georgia woman whose skin “melted off” after she was given the wrong dosage of a medication prescribed for depression. Due to the excessive dosage she received, the woman developed Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, a condition that causes the skin to peel off and blister. The condition left the woman severely and permanently disfigured.

Medication mistakes are commonplace across the country, including here in the District. Pharmacists, nurses and doctors may cause medication mistakes by:

  • Providing the wrong dosage: In some cases, patients are given the incorrect dosage of their medications. This can increase the risk and severity of side effects, like in the example described above. Depending on the type of medication, patients can overdose and die from dosage errors. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), dosage errors are the most common type of medical mistake.
  • Giving patients the wrong medication: Health care professionals may give patients the wrong medications. This type of medication error is most likely to occur when two drug names share similar names.
  • Failing to detect a drug interaction: Doctors or pharmacists may fail to detect drug interactions while prescribing medications. Drug interactions may cause patients to succumb to potentially fatal health conditions. For example, serotonin syndrome can occur when certain types of antidepressants are mixed with other medications. This health condition is fatal if left untreated.
  • Not providing medications: In some cases, health care professionals may fail to follow dosage schedules. This type of medication error can occur when patients are handed off at the end of shifts.
  • Improperly administering medications: Health care professionals may administer medications incorrectly. For example, a nurse may give a patient an IV version of a drug instead of an oral tablet.

Can I File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit for Medication Mistakes?

Health care professionals are required to exercise reasonable care while treating patients. When they fail to provide services within the medical standard of care and patients suffer injuries or death, patients or their family members may have the option to file medical malpractice lawsuits. Damages from a medical malpractice lawsuit can help pay for hospitals bills, future medical expenses, lost income, funeral costs, and pain and suffering.

The Washington DC medical malpractice lawyers at Regan Zambri Long, PLLC can help victims of medical malpractice or their families hold negligent health care providers accountable.

Categories: Medication Safety
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