Medical Malpractice and Medication Errors
Modern science has produced a host of medications that medical providers use to prevent and treat a range of symptoms and diseases. For conditions ranging from arthritis and acne, to yellow fever and shingles, there are medications available to help. While these medicines sustain and increase the quality of life for millions of people, if taken improperly they can cause severe side effects, and sometimes death. Injuries due to medication errors have become increasingly common. Doctors and hospital staff aren’t immune from making mistakes, and whether the mistake is due to the wrong drug being prescribed, allergic reactions, or dangerous interactions with other prescriptions, medication errors are a serious cause for concern.
Commonly Prescribed Medications
Over 70% of the population is taking some form of medication. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most common types of medications prescribed include:
- Analgesics or painkillers, such as Percocet or oxycodone
- Antidepressants, such as Wellbutrin and Zoloft
- Antihyperlipidemic agents, used to treat issues with cholesterol levels, such as statins and niacin
In addition to these, among the medications hospitals and emergency rooms most frequently prescribe include anti-diabetic medicines, and medicines to reduce dizziness and nausea. Health problems due to these medications can include poisoning, adverse side effects, and damages to organs and tissues.
Common Medication Errors
According the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a medication error is any kind of inappropriate use or harmful effect resulting in damages or injuries to the patient. Over the last decade, the FDA has received reports of over 95,000 medication errors in the U.S. alone. Medication errors may happen due to a number of reasons, including:
- Miscommunication of drug orders due to illegible handwriting
- Confusion on the part of hospital staff or pharmacies due to similar sounding drug names
- Poor packaging design
- Improper dosage
- Dangerous interactions with other drugs being prescribed
Often, several of these factors come into play when an injury has resulted due to medication errors.
Protect Yourself Against Medical Errors
For consumers, it’s increasingly important to be vigilant about the type of healthcare they receive. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) advises that there are several steps to protect yourself against medical errors. These include:
- Know your medicines. Know what medicines you’re taking, and at what amounts
- Read labels carefully. Make sure the medicine you are taking has your name and correct information on it, and follow dosing guideline
- Ask questions, such as reasons the medication is prescribed, if there are any dangerous side effects or symptoms you need to be aware of, and if there are any dangerous interactions with other drugs you are taking
Medication Errors? Call Our Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries due to medication errors, contact our experienced South Carolina medical malpractice attorney today. At Anastopoulo Law Firm with offices in Charleston and throughout South Carolina, we’ll review your case for free, and help you to recover damages due to injuries caused by medications. Your health and welfare is important, so don’t hesitate. Call us today.