The Division of Medication Error Prevention and Analysis (DMEPA) 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 health care professional, patient, or consumer.” A medication error may be caused from at almost any point from the time the drug is manufactured to the time it is taken by the patient.
The injuries that result from a medication error range from temporary discomfort to severe allergic reactions, permanent disability, and even death. Sadly, at least 1.5 million Americans are harmed each year by medication errors, according to a 2006 report of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.
Eric Ratinoff is a leading insurance lawyer in the Sacramento area that offers assistance and aggressive representation for clients who have sustained an injury due to medication errors, and other medical malpractice suits. Often times, clients aren’t aware of the significance of their case and the potential compensation they deserve due to the injuries they’ve incurred. If you believe you’ve been injured at the hands of medicinal error, contact our insurance & injury law firm today for an initial free consultation.
Common Causes of Medication Errors
The American Hospital Association lists the following as the most common causes of medication errors:
- Incomplete Patient Information – Prescribing doctors and medical staff not knowing about a patient’s allergies, other medicines the patient is taking, other medical conditions, or laboratory test results.
- Unavailable Drug Information – Prescribing doctors need to have accurate, complete, and up-to-date drug information and warnings.
- Illegible and/or Unclear Drug Prescriptions – Prescriptions can be filled incorrectly when the doctor’s handwriting cannot be read or the notations are not interpreted correctly. Pharmacists can be confused about:
- Drugs with similar names
- Misuse of zeroes and decimal points
- Confusion of metric and other dosing units
- Use of inappropriate abbreviations on the prescription
- Illegible handwriting
- Lack of Appropriate Labeling or Confusing Medication Labels – All warnings, dosage information, and other information must be transferred to labels when a drug is prepared and repackaged into smaller units.
- Distractions – Doctors, medical staff, and pharmacists can be distracted by noise, interruptions, and other factors that can result in medication errors.
- Medication mishaps can occur at any time during these activities:
- Prescribing: When the doctor decides which medication should be used
- Repackaging: When the pharmacy staff prepares smaller dosages from larger containers of medication
- Dispensing: When the pharmacy selects the drug to fill the prescription
- Administering: When the doctor or medical staff administers an IV or otherwise gives the patient the medication
- Monitoring: When the doctor or medical staff checks to see if the medication is helping or if it is causing a problem (such as an allergic reaction)
Discuss your Medication Error with an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney
Eric Ratinoff, Sacramento medical malpractice attorney, has obtained excellent results in cases involving medication errors. Having over twenty years of experience in insurance & injury practice areas, we understand the complexities of drug interactions and have utilized the expertise of numerous doctors and pharmaceutical professionals to provide aggressive representation that will help achieve the compensation you deserve.
A recent example of a medication error lawsuit we successfully resolved includes a $1 million medication error recovery on behalf of a woman who suffered liver failure when her hospital administered a large dosage of the wrong prescription drug.
Other examples of medication error cases we handle include:
- Wrong medicine
- Wrong dose
- Gentamicin toxicity / poisoning
- Steroid-induced injuries
- Illegible handwritten prescription
- Confusing medication label
- Drugs with undisclosed harmful side effects
- Recalled drugs
If you or a loved one has been injured due to a product liability, or specific medication error, please contact our Sacramento injury law firm toll free at at 916.473.1529, or fill out and submit the contact form for a free and confidential case evaluation.