Medication errors are some of the most common examples of medical malpractice, and they can have serious consequences. You may have a trustworthy, reliable doctor, but one slip-up could lead to injury or even death. The National Library of Medicine reported that in the US, medication errors cause between 7,000 and 9,000 deaths each year.
Medication errors can occur at any stage of the medication process. This is why it is important to take the right precautions early on.
What causes medication errors?
According to the National Library of Medicine, distractions cause about 75% of medication errors. Doctors and nurses often have to write drug orders and prescriptions when they are in the middle of handling other responsibilities, such as caring for patients and giving updates to patients’ family members. Poor handwriting, confusing abbreviations and other miscommunications can also cause medication errors.
What should you look out for?
Medication errors occur when some part of the medication process is out of order. For example, the medication’s label could have the wrong dosage, which could lead you to take too much or too little of the drug. Your doctor could also prescribe the wrong medication or overlook the fact that you are taking something else that could cause a dangerous interaction. On top of this, your pharmacist may not have your medication ready when you really need it.
You have to keep doctors, nurses and pharmacists on their toes to prevent errors from happening. If you have questions or concerns about a drug, do not hesitate to ask a professional, and make sure you understand what they are telling you. Due diligence can help you avoid issues down the line.