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Medication errors: What they are and why they happen

On Behalf of | Jul 15, 2020 | Medical Malpractice |

Medical mistakes can put patients in dangerous positions. Prescribing medications that interact could lead to fatal side effects, using drugs that patients are allergic to could lead to anaphylaxis and patients who are given too much of a drug could overdose.

Medical providers should be cautious about the medications they prescribe, but they aren’t always as careful as they should be. Failing to read a patient’s chart, take a proper history or ask about allergies could lead to serious, and potentially fatal, consequences.

Did you know that as many as 400,000 people in America die because of medical errors every year? Many of those lives could have been saved with appropriate care and attention.

What kinds of medication errors are there?

Some common medication errors include:

  • Giving medications at the wrong times
  • Providing the wrong dosage
  • Preparing the drug incorrectly
  • Failing to give a medication at the appropriate time
  • Prescribing the wrong medication
  • Improperly administering medications

Any kind of medication error could lead to serious injuries or deaths. Why do they happen, though?

Some common causes of medication errors include:

  • A lack of understanding of the patient’s history or the medications being prescribed
  • Problems with medication labels
  • Distractions
  • Exhaustion
  • Memory lapses

Regardless of the cause, any kind of medical error that leads to a patient getting the wrong medications or not receiving what they need is a serious problem. As a patient who has been injured because of medication errors, you may have the right to pursue a claim against the medical provider and to seek compensation for any further medical care you need along with other financial losses.