Prescription medications are allowing people to live healthier and more fulfilling lives. In the United States nearly half of people are taking some form of prescription medication. This percentage is likely to increase as people continue to live longer. However, it is important that these medications be used appropriately.
Doctors, pharmacists, and other medical professionals are entrusted with providing their patients with the medications they need. It is expected that medical professionals will use extreme care when prescribing and dispensing these medications. Mistakes can be made when health care professionals give a patient too much or too little of a particular drug, or gives the patient the wrong medication entirely. Serious injury and possibly death can result from these types of errors.
Inadequate training of people who prescribe, prepare and administer drugs can lead to medication errors. Hospitals may need to undergo fundamental changes to training and error prevention programs in an effort to prevent medication errors from occurring. Until this happens, patients may continue to suffer injuries as a result of preventable medical errors.
Types of Medication Errors
Allergic Reactions – if a patient is given a drug they are allergic to, they may suffer some serious side effects. It is often the case that allergic reactions occur due to “cross-reactivity.” Cross reactive medicines are two or more drugs with similar chemical makeup. If a patient is prescribed or a health care professional administers a drug from a cross-reactive group, it may be considered medical malpractice.
Drug Interactions – when prescription drugs are mixed with each other, the effect of each drug will be impacted. Doctors are required to have their patients list the drugs they are taking so that dangerous drug interactions can be prevented.
Incorrect Dosing – a prescribing physician, administering nurse, or pharmacist can make an error resulting in an underdose or overdose of a drug. Infants and young children are at the greatest risk of overdose because many of these prescription medications do not have safe dosage listed for children under a certain age.
Side Effects – there are known side effects for all drugs. When a doctor fails to warn a patient of any potential side effects of a drug, the results can be devastating. Physicians may need to watch a patient and administer tests in order to monitor any possible side effects. Any injuries that result due to a doctor’s failure to monitor or inform a patient could be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Wrong Drug – when a patient inadvertently take the wrong drug, the doctor, nurse, or the pharmacist could be liable for any injuries that result. When an incorrect drug is administered, prescribed, or dispensed, the patient may be robbed of any of the beneficial effects of the intended drug, and could lead to serious complications.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice, contact an experienced Kingston, New York medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to evaluate your case.
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