Doctors have to think about many things, including their patient’s age, height, weight and medical history before they prescribe a drug. If they get any of this information wrong or don’t calculate dosages correctly, the patient can suffer harm. There are many impacts that can come from medication errors.
Each year, the Food and Drug Administration gets more than 100,000 suspected medication error reports. The consequences of medication errors vary greatly in severity, but they can include:
- Birth defects
- Life-threatening situations
The reports about these incidents don’t come from one single source. Instead, they come from consumers, healthcare professionals, and drug manufacturers. The FDA has a reporting tool, MedWatch, which is used to gather this type of information.
There aren’t any acceptable reasons for medication errors to occur, but there are ways that drug manufacturers, prescribers, dispensers and others can help to reduce the risk that they will happen. Making sure that drugs don’t get mixed up and that dosing information is correct can help to prevent some errors.
While it isn’t the consumer’s duty to keep themselves safe from medication errors, you play an important role in protecting yourself. You can review the medications you’re taking and double-check that you’re getting the correct ones. Take the time to familiarize yourself with potential interactions and side effects so you know to watch for them.
If you’re harmed by a medication error, take the time to learn about your legal options. You may opt to seek compensation for the damages that you deal with due to the situation. Consult your attorney to find out what this might entail for you.