Liability for Medication Errors

by David Zevan on Dec. 05, 2014

Accident & Injury Medical Malpractice Accident & Injury Accident & Injury  Malpractice 

Summary: Each year, up to 1.5 million Americans are exposed to medication errors by negligent medical personnel.

Medication errors are a common type of medical negligence. It is reported that every year as many as 1.5 million Americans are affected by medication errors in some way. Our St. Louis medical malpractice lawyer explains that medication errors can occur at any stage between when the medication is prescribed and administered in a hospital or nursing home setting. Medication errors can also be committed by the pharmacy that fills the prescription. A medication error can worsen a patient's condition, and in worse cases, cause death.

Doctor Prescribes the Wrong Medication

A doctor can be held liable in several ways for causing a medication error when preparing the prescription. The doctor may prescribe the wrong medication to treat a particular condition, which can exacerbate the patient’s condition. Such a medication error could be a result of human error when transcribing the prescription or prescribing the wrong dosage.

St. Louis medical malpractice attorneys inform us that dosage errors are a common medication error caused by a doctor’s negligence. A doctor may also fail to consider the possibility of dangerous drug interactions when prescribing multiple medications that are to be taken in combination.

Pharmacy Errors

Pharmacy workers may cause medication errors. At this stage, it is commonly a human error on the part of the pharmacist or pharmacy technician that causes medication errors. A number of mistakes can occur even if the doctor has prescribed the medication correctly. The pharmacist or the pharmacy technician can enter the patient information incorrectly into the system, mix up different patient prescriptions, or fail to consider dangerous drug interactions based on the patient’s history and other medications the patients may already be on.
There are procedures in place to prevent medication errors at the pharmacy level. Such procedures may include an approval from the pharmacist for all the medications that are distributed from the pharmacy. However, in some cases, the errors simply slip through and cause harm to the patient.

Mistakes in Administering the Medication

Many medication errors occur at the time of administration. A common error that occurs in hospital and nursing home settings is that the medication is administered to the wrong resident or patient. The chances of an error become higher when the drug is administered by way of some equipment. It might happen that malfunctioning equipment could administer more or less of the drug that is to be administered in each dose.

If you or someone close to you has been harmed by a medication error, you should immediately get in touch with an experienced St. Louis medical malpractice attorney to discuss your case. Call Zevan and Davidson Law Firm LLC at (314) 588-7200.

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