What Are Medication Errors and How to Stay Safe

Posted on behalf of James Lynch on April 30, 2019  in Medical Malpractice News. Updated on March 2, 2022

MedicationYou have probably seen those lengthy prescription drug commercials promising relief from various medical conditions. After they describe how the drug can make your life better, they start listing all the dangerous side effects that make you wonder if it is even worth it.

Medications are dangerous enough, but they can be even more so when medical professionals make errors when administering medications, particularly in a hospital or other medical facility. That is why it is important to understand how medications errors happen and what you can do to avoid them.

If you have suffered an injury due to a medication error, our New Jersey medical malpractice attorneys are here to help you seek the compensation you deserve. Request a free, no obligation consultation today.

How Do Medication Errors Happen?

Medication errors occur for a number of reasons, sometimes they are accidental and other times they are due to negligence:

  • Physicians failed to properly communicate with each other
  • There was poor communication between you and your physicians
  • Medical abbreviations were miswritten or misinterpreted
  • Doctors or pharmacists got confused because a drug’s name sounded similar to something else

Questions About Your Health You Should Know the Answers to

To lower your risk of medication errors, you should know the answers to many important questions concerning your health. Ask your doctor to fully explain anything you do not understand. If you are starting a new medication, make sure to get the answers to the following questions before you begin taking it:

  • What is the medication’s brand and generic name?
  • What is the purpose of taking this medication?
  • How long will it take for the medicine to achieve results?
  • What dosage is prescribed?
  • How long do I need to take this medication?
  • What should I do if a dose is missed or I mistakenly take too much?
  • Are there any medicines, foods, drinks or activities I should avoid while taking the medication?
  • What are the medication’s possible side effects?
  • What do I need to do if I experience a side effect of the medication?
  • Could this medication interfere with other medicines I take, and how so?

It is important that you have up-to-date information about your health conditions and any medications you take so you can share them with your doctor. During your visit, tell your doctor the following information:

  • The names and dosages of all medications you take, including nutritional supplements, vitamins, herbs, over-the-counter medicines and vaccines
  • Anything you have been given intravenously, such as radioactive medications, blood products, contrast agents for diagnostics and feeding tube supplements
  • Medications you are allergic to and ones you have experienced issues with in the past
  • Your chronic health issues
  • If you are pregnant, may be pregnant or are trying to become pregnant

How Medical Staff Can Avoid Medication Errors

There are many protocols medical staff should follow to prevent medication errors among patients. These include:

  • Gathering up-to-date health condition and medication information from each patient
  • Using identifiers unique to each patient when verifying information and administering medication
  • Verifying all allergies and reactions with the patient before prescribing or administering medication
  • Sharing information between staff members
  • Using electronic prescription methods to avoid handwriting issues
  • Not using medical abbreviations that can be misinterpreted when writing prescriptions
  • Double-checking procedures and having another medical staff member read back orders to verify them
  • Documenting all information regarding medications and their administration in medical records
  • Keeping drug references on hand so they are quickly accessible to all staff who prescribe, dispense and administer medications, as well as to those who educate patients about medications

How Our Skilled Attorneys Can Help

If you are the victim of a medication error, our New Jersey medical malpractice attorneys will help you seek justice and recover damages for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. We will review your case and let you know the legal options that may be available for seeking compensation.

Schedule a free, no obligation consultation today and speak with our legal team. There are no upfront fees and we only get paid if we recover compensation on your behalf.

Call (800) 518-0508 for help with your claim today.

* Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.

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