Every year medication errors sicken 1.5 million people and kill several thousand, according to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) as reported by The New York Times. These errors wind up costing the nation at least $3.5 billion annually.
“Drug errors are so widespread that hospital patients should expect to suffer one every day they remain hospitalized, although error rates vary by hospital and most do not lead to injury,” according to The New York Times.
Who is Responsible?
When people get their prescription medications, they automatically assume they are being given the right drugs. But, physicians and pharmacists are fallible. Their mistakes can have serious or deadly consequences. In addition to physicians and pharmacists, nurses also can be responsible for giving patients the wrong medication in a hospital or at nursing home, for example. Or, even the pharmacy staff may be at fault.
Medication errors can occur with prescription drugs, generic drugs and over the counter drugs. Drug companies can be held liable, for example, if the prescribing information fails to include proper instructions for use or information about certain risks.
Medication errors can include:
- A physician writing a wrong prescription for a patient
- A physician prescribing the wrong dose
- A pharmacist or physician giving the patient a medication that interacts dangerously with medications the patient is already taking
- A pharmacist improperly filling the prescription
- Mixing up patients’ medications
- A pharmacist improperly mixing or preparing the medication
- Misleading labeling on a drug label
- Mistakes caused by unclear medical abbreviations
- Defective medical devices such as pain pumps that administer the wrong dose of medication
Any one of these errors may make someone very sick or possibly cause them to die. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured by a medication error, this might be a case of medical malpractice or medical negligence.
Get Legal Help
The medical malpractice attorneys at the law firm of Bertoldo, Baker, Carter & Smith are available to help patients and families who are harmed by medication errors. If you believe you’ve been injured because you were given the wrong type or wrong dose of a medication, or if you were given a medication that was not right for you, you may be eligible for financial compensation.