According to some studies, more than one million people are injured each year in our country due to medication errors. A medication error is defined, in part, as “a preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the health care professional, patient, or consumer.” This definition is provided by The National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention.
But what does that definition really mean? In plain language, it means that your medical professional makes some type of error involving medication and you suffer harm. Here are the most common medication errors that occur.
When you go to the hospital, you can reasonably expect to be given some type of medication. Whether you are given a pill to swallow or an injection, your doctor or nurse may give you an improper dose. The wrong dose may be too much or too little of the drug, but it is typically considered more serious when you are given an overdose.
2. Wrong Drug
Doctors and medical staff need to communicate with one another to keep patients safe. When this doesn’t happen, errors can happen. A common medication error is giving someone the wrong drug altogether. This may be due to a patient mix-up, illegible writing or a simple lack of communication regarding medication changes.
3. Route of Administration
You may think this one would be a difficult mistake to make, but its really not. So many of our medications can be administered in different ways, it’s no wonder it can get confusing. You may be prescribed pills and get an injection. You may be prescribed injections and receive suppositories.
Medication errors shouldn’t happen, but they do. If you are given medications while in the hospital, it is your right to ask questions. Make sure that the medication is the right one for you, that you are receiving the right dose, and that you are being given the medication in the correct form.
If you believe that you or a loved one has been the victim of a medication error in Charleston, call our office. A member of our team will review the details of your injury and advise you of the options available to you under current state law.