April 24, 2021 was National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. This is a day set aside for people with unused prescriptions to return the leftovers to designed return centers, including certain pharmacies. With the focus on prescription medications and how to dispose of unused drugs, this represents a good moment in time to consider mistakes made in prescribing prescriptions in the first instance. Medication errors represent one of the major underlying causes of medical malpractice across the United States in this day and age.
Wrongful Death and Medication Errors
Sadly, between 7,000 and 9,000 people die annually as the result of completely avoidable medication errors. This breaks down to an alarming 19 to 25 deaths each day as the result of some type of medication error.
Personal Injury and Medication Errors
Tens of thousands of men, women, and children are injured in some manner as the result of medication errors annually. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that $40 billion is expended each year to treat and care for individuals who have been injured as the result of a medication error.
The types of personal injuries sustained as the result of medication errors are wide ranging in their scope and severity. Medication errors can result in a person’s underlying disease, condition, or illness becoming more severe. Medication errors can result in a patient experiencing an entirely new set of maladies.
Most Common Types of Medication Errors
There is an array of medication errors that are most commonplace in the United States. These are:
- Prescribing an incorrect medication
- Prescribing or giving an improper dose of medication
- Transcribing a prescription incorrectly
- Failure to check whether other meds a patient takes will interact negatively with a prescribed drug
- Failure to confirm whether a patient might be allergic to a medication or to an ingredient in a drug
- Misdirection about taking medication
- Failure to include component of a prescription
Patient Education to Lower Risk of Medication Error
Patient self-education is an important element of lowering the risk of medication error. (With that said, physicians together with other healthcare professionals are responsible for ensuring medications properly are prescribed and dispensed to patients. Self-education is important but doesn’t result in a patient somehow waiving his or her rights to safe access to medications.)
When it comes to patient education to lower the risk of medication error, the following points are important to bear in mind:
- Know the names and specific indications associated with a medication
- Read medication information sheets provided by pharmacists (and physicians)
- Never share medications
- Check expiration dates on medications
- Dispose of expired medications (in a proper manner, like the action plan set forth on National Prescription Drug Take Back Day)
- Learn about proper and safe drug storage
- Always keep medications out of reach of children
- Understand potential drug interactions
- Understand drug warnings
- Ask questions of physicians and pharmacists
Medication Errors and Your Legal Rights
If you or a loved one have been injured as the result of some type of medication error, the experienced, compassionate, tenacious legal team at The Doan Law Firm is here for you. A nationwide law firm, we’ve local offices available to you in 40 cities across the United States. You can connect with us any time of the day or night by calling (800) 349-0000. We keep our medication error hotline staffed 365 days a year, including major holidays.
We can also arrange a consultation with a skilled medication error lawyer at your home or any other location that is convenient to you. A virtual appointment can be scheduled for you online as well. There is never a charge for an initial consultation and case evaluation with a Doan Law Firm medication error attorney.
If you’ve lost a family member as a result of a medication error, or any other type of medical malpractice, our firm is also here to fight for your important rights. A medication error wrongful death lawyer is available to explain your legal rights and to fight for justice for you.
The Doan Law Firm makes an attorney fee guarantee to you. Our firm will never charge an attorney fee unless we win your case for you.