CHICAGO, IL – Medications play a critical role in maintaining our health. However, mistakes can happen during the prescription process which can lead to potentially serious consequences. The wrong medication or incorrect dosage may create an adverse effect with long-term effects.
How Do Prescription Errors Occur?
Prescription errors can stem from various factors. A common cause is a simple mix-up between similar drug names, which may confuse both doctors and pharmacists. Additionally, miscommunication between healthcare providers, inadequate patient information and hurried appointments can contribute to errors. In some cases, patients may also receive incorrect dosages due to miscalculations or misinterpretations of the prescribed instructions. According to the National Library of Medicine, nearly 7,000 to 9,000 Americans die annually due to this type of medical error.
The Dangers of Drug Interactions
Even if you receive the right medication and dosage, the drug may not interact well with other prescriptions you may be taking. Drug interactions occur when one medication affects the way another medication works, leading to unexpected and harmful effects. Some interactions can amplify a drug’s effects, while others can diminish them or cause adverse reactions that can lead to fatalities in some cases.
A major concern with giving a patient the incorrect drug is the potential for a severe reaction. Drugs like antibiotics have the potential to cause serious, even deadly, allergic reactions in patients with allergies to them. Drug allergies are severe and the wrong medication could send a patient into anaphylactic shock.
Even if a patient doesn’t have an allergy, receiving the wrong drug still may cause catastrophic damage. Some drugs interact badly with one another, worsening a vulnerable patient’s condition. One medication may negate the effects of another, reducing its efficacy for the patient. It’s also possible for drugs to have a synergistic effect on one another and increase each other’s effects. These scenarios can have major consequences for the patient and lead to medical malpractice litigation.
The Ripple Effects of Wrong Medication and Dosage
The repercussions of receiving the wrong medication or dosage have severe, long-lasting consequences including physical side effects that range from mild discomfort to serious health complications. Potential outcomes may include allergic reactions, adverse interactions with other medications and organ damage. In addition, the psychological toll of dealing with unexpected health issues on top of existing ones may lead to developing stress and anxiety.
Patients have the right to expect a certain standard of care from medical professionals. If negligence in prescribing leads to harm, you may have grounds for seeking legal recourse. The medical malpractice attorneys at the Dinizulu Law Group located in Chicago, Illinois are here to help you.
Preventing Adverse Drug Events
The pathway to connecting a clinician’s decision to prescribe a medication and the patient receiving the medication consists of various steps, including:
- Ordering: the clinician or prescribing doctor must select the appropriate medication and the dose, frequency and duration.
- Transcribing: in a paper-based system, an intermediary must read and interpret the prescription correctly.
- Dispensing: the pharmacist must double-check for drug-drug interactions and allergies, then release the appropriate quantity of the medication in the correct form.
- Administration: the correct medication must be supplied to the correct patient at the right time. For example, in hospitals or long-term care settings, this generally falls under the responsibility of nurses or other trained staff.
Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney in Chicago, Illinois
Medical malpractice involves a very small percentage of doctors and hospitals. However, doctors can make mistakes and be careless just like all other people. In those cases where negligence causes serious injury, we help people recover money damages. If you have been the victim of medical malpractice, our Chicago area lawyers want to help. Contact the Dinizulu Law Group, Ltd. to schedule a free consultation today by calling (312) 384-1920.