Doctors, nurses and pharmacists undergo quite a bit of training to be able to lawfully prescribe and administer controlled substances (medications), whether it’s at the pharmacy, in the hospital room, or in surgery. But alas, healthcare providers are human, which means they’re not immune to human error.
The problem is that when a mistake involves a medication error, it can put the patient at risk of serious side effects or in the most serious cases, at risk of death. “But how often does that really happen?” Unfortunately, medication errors are far more common than they should be and it’s a problem that plagues even the finest hospitals and medical facilities.
FDA’s Definition of a Medication Error
The National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention defines a medication error as, “any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the healthcare professional, patient, or consumer.”
According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), there are various ways a medication error can occur. It can happen when a drug is prescribed, when it’s entered into a computer system, when the drug is prepared or dispensed, “or when the drug is given to or taken by the patient.”
Medication errors are not to be taken lightly. Depending on the circumstances, a medication error can have serious results, such as birth defects, disability, hospitalization, a life-threatening situation, and even death.
As a consumer, here’s what you can do to prevent medication errors:
- Educate yourself about the risks of medication errors.
- Know what your doctor is prescribing you and what you’re taking it for.
- Read the drug’s package insert or pamphlet and make sure you fully understand the directions.
- Store the medication as directed and keep it in its original packaging.
- If you’re prescribed multiple medications, make sure you know how they react with each other.
- Create a list of all medications and supplements that you’re on and keep it updated.
- Beware of how the drugs you’re taking interact with food and alcohol and how they affect driving.
- If you’re ever in doubt, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
We hope you found this information useful. If you’d like to file a claim for compensation for a medication error, contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC to get started.