Medication Errors Can Lead to Injuries and Medical Malpractice Claims
Preventable medical mistakes are now the third leading cause of fatalities in the United States, according to a study by Johns Hopkins Medicine. The researchers found more than 250,000 individuals die every year due to a medical error, not a medical condition or injury. With this figure, only heart disease and cancer are more deadly to Americans. Johns Hopkins Medicine looked at a number of medical errors, but a common type of mistake made in facilities and medical settings is medication errors. From giving a patient the wrong medication to dispensing the wrong dose, a medication errors can lead to serious injuries and death – both of which could lead to a medical malpractice claim against health care providers.
Types of Medication Mistakes
Medications need to be given in a precise way and amount. In fact, accuracy and specificity is more important when it comes to their medications than many patients realize. Dangerous medical mistakes include:
- Giving the wrong drug. Nurses and doctors are often very busy. Rushing around, poor recordkeeping, and a lack of communication can lead to a medical provider giving a patient an incorrect drug. This could lead to a dangerous drug interaction or a worsening of the patient’s condition.
- Failing to check for potential interactions. Not all drugs can be safely combined. When physicians, nurses, and pharmacists fail to look into potential drug interactions, they could prescribe or dispense a drug that could lead to an injurious or fatal interaction with another medication the patient already takes. This is particularly important for elderly patients who may take multiple drugs daily.
- Failing to ask about allergies. Many individuals are allergic or have a sensitivity to certain types of antibiotics or pain medications. Medical providers should thoroughly review a patient’s history or ask about allergies again before giving patients new drugs.
- Administering the drug incorrectly. Many medications must be given to patients in a specific way such as through an IV or orally. If a health care provider gives a drug in the wrong way, it could lead to an injury.
- Preparing the drug incorrectly. Many medications must be prepared or formulated in a certain when way given to patients. For example, a drug may need to be diluted in a solution. If the drug is not prepared correctly, it could hurt the patient or not have the intended effect.
- Providing the wrong dose. It is common for a physician could prescribe a correct dose but then have another medical staff member give the patient the wrong amount. When patients are given too little of a drug, they may not see any benefit or improvement in their conditions. If they are given too much, they could have an adverse reaction.
- Not providing a drug when necessary. Medications are often given at a specific interval. If a medical provider fails to give patients their drugs, the patients could experience adverse effects. Additionally, timing intervals can be important for many drugs. When patients receive drugs too soon or with too long of intervals between doses, their conditions could worse.
Contact an Oklahoma City Medical Malpractice Attorney for Help
If you or a loved one was hurt because a physician, pharmacist, or nurse made a medication mistake, do not hesitate to call us at Brown & Gould, PLLC. We have an experienced medical malpractice team, which means we can offer you both the legal and medical experience you need to prove how a medical provider’s mistake led to your injuries.
Contact or call Brown & Gould, PLLC today at 405-235-4500 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.