There are a staggering 6,800 different prescription medications on the market in the U.S. And unfortunately, people are injured and die every year when these medications are given incorrectly. Many of these adverse outcomes are entirely preventable.
How medication errors occur
There are many steps within the patient care cycle at which medication errors can occur. Errors can result from:
- Incorrect initial presciption
- Errors in documentation or transcription
- Pharmacy or healthcare information technology (HIT) glitches during the dispensing process
- Insufficient medical team oversight resulting in the wrong drug or dosage being administered
- Failure to monitor a patient’s adverse reaction to a medication
Industry research points to the prescribing or ordering stage as being the one when most errors occur. At least 50% of all medication errors may occur at this point in the patient care cycle. These errors most commonly result from a physician prescribing either the incorrect drug or recommending that the patient take it at a wrong frequency or dose.
What about the ordering or prescribing stage makes it so error-prone?
A medical team member or pharmacist’s failure to obtain accurate medical contraindication data or an allergy history may also lead to such errors. Poor communication among medical team members may result in prescribing issues as well.
Drug manufacturers may also fail to convey accurate drug information to prescribers and pharmacists, thus resulting in errors.
What are your options if a medication error injured you?
You shouldn’t write off a medication error as a simple mistake. You suffered unnecessarily, and someone should be held accountable for that. A Seattle attorney can help you explore your options.