It is estimated that one third of American adults take some form of prescription
drug a day. It is very common for us to go to the doctor and be prescribed
medication to treat whatever is ailing us. However, if not administered
properly or if prescribed incorrectly, medication errors have the potential
to cause lasting harm for patients. It is important that the doctor clearly
prescribe the medication and the pharmacist accurately fill the prescription.
Any discrepancy in between and there could be potential for danger.
From the time the doctor prescribes medication to the moment the patient
takes it, there are four stages.
The four stages of medication are:
- Prescribing: This is when the physician initially diagnosis a problem and
chooses the correct medication for the patient.
- Transcribing: The order then goes to the pharmacist, usually in written
or digital form. Written form is what causes the most error.
- Dispensing: The pharmacist measures out the correct dosage of the medication.
The pharmacist must check patient’s history to ensure that the medications
do not have reactions to each other.
- Administering: The patient is instructed a specific amount of medication
to take and exact times.
Where the Error Usually Occurs
Because there are so many steps involved, it can be easy for human error
to occur. The most common mistake is made when a doctor’s prescription
is illegible and not available through digital means. The pharmacist might
misinterpret the amount and fill the wrong order.
Other medication errors include:
- Pharmacist fails to check patient’s medication history
- Wrong dosage is prescribed
- Medication not clearly explained leading patient to overdose or under dose
- Medical staff has inadequate knowledge about the drug
Medication errors are unfortunately a common occurrence. With prescription
errors accounting for nearly 70% of all medication mistakes, it is important
to stay vigilant about medical drugs. If you or a loved one has suffered
because of a medication error, you may have a case to seek compensation.
Contact our Portland medical malpractice attorneys at Paulson Coletti for a
free consultation today.