When a doctor makes a medication error they are violating the trust patients put in them. In most cases, medical professionals will live up to the standard of care that is expected of them and provide patients with timely and proper care and prescribe appropriate and effective medications. However, there are times when a doctor will prescribe the wrong medication or the wrong dosage of a medication because of an incorrect diagnosis or the negligence of a doctor, hospital staff, or pharmacy.
Mostly commonly, medication errors involve the amount of dosage that is given to patients. Types of errors include:
- Diagnostic Errors: This includes misdiagnosis that leads to an incorrect choice of therapy, the failure to use a diagnostic test that is indicated, misinterpreting the results of a test, or the failure to act on test results that are abnormal.
- Equipment Failure: Such failures can include defibrillators with dead batteries or intravenous pumps that have valves that are easily dislodged or bumped, leading to an increase in the dosage of medication over a too short period of time.
- Infections: These include infections from post-surgical wounds.
- Injuries Related to Blood Transfusion: Such as incompatible blood transfusions.
- Misinterpreting of Medical Orders: Not following a physician’s instructions on the patients dietary requirements.
Doctors also need to monitor a patient’s intake of certain drugs. They also need to inform patients when they are transition patients from one type of drug to another, especially pain killers as they that have a high propensity for addiction and abuse. Doctors may over-prescribe these drugs or not properly supervise the patient’s pain management regimen.
If a physician is careless, they may transition a patient from one narcotic painkiller to another with serious consequences. When a patient is taken off a drug that is slow acting and placed on a drug that is fast acting, an overdose can occur more easily. When a doctor is negligent in prescribing and monitoring a patient’s intake of painkillers there can be serious injuries and lead to a medical malpractice claim.
If a doctor has over-prescribed painkillers to you or a loved one, you should contact a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.
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