The right prescription medication can save someone’s life or at least improve their quality of life. Unfortunately, the wrong medication or an improperly-administered drug could potentially kill somebody.
Despite major advances in the types of medications available for different medical conditions, human error remains a major safety concern for those undergoing treatment with cutting-edge medications. Errors when prescribing, dispensing or administering a medication could potentially reduce how effective treatment for someone is or result in an adverse reaction, like an overdose or drug interaction. Researchers estimate that between 7,000 and 9,000 people die every year in the United States because of medication errors. The following professionals tend to make medication errors with alarming frequency.
Whether the doctor prescribing a medication is a patient’s primary care physician or the person working at the emergency room on a particular night, the doctor that recommends the medication could very well make a mistake. They could prescribe a drug that would very likely cause an allergic reaction given someone’s history with other medications or a drug that will interact with another medication they already take. Mistakes when prescribing medications can lead to preventable health issues for the patient.
Nurses and certain aides
Registered nurses and certain trained AIDS working in hospitals, nursing homes and similar facilities will dispense or administer medication to individual patients. Their distribution of drugs will likely be part of their daily routine, which may mean that they do not devote the attention to detail that the risk inherent in the process demands. Those handing out medications to patients can make mistakes in the timing of when they deliver those drugs, or they might mix up the medication and give patients the wrong pills.
Pharmacists and technicians
Those dispensing drugs can make numerous errors. They might mislabel a medication or put the wrong drug in someone’s prescription vial. They could give them the right medication but the wrong dose. Pharmacists and the technicians that they oversee could also make mistakes when compounding medications or mixing drugs for intravenous IV administration.
Drug errors can essentially happen at any stage in the process of recommending and administering a drug, and they can have dire implications for someone’s long-term health. Knowing that medication errors are an actionable type of medical malpractice may inspire some people to seek justice when medical errors affect their lives.