Medication Errors | Paulson Coletti

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.