What can cause medication errors?

On Behalf of | Jul 18, 2023 | Medical Malpractice

It is typical to receive prescriptions and take medication to alleviate various illnesses or symptoms. However, following the doctor’s orders could have grave repercussions if medication errors occur.

These preventable mistakes affect a minimum of 1.5 million patients annually. They are also costly, resulting in injuries, lost income and other medical costs. Hospitals have systems and procedures to prevent these mistakes, but they cannot remove the chances of them happening.

If there are inconsistencies within the health care provider’s operations, a patient might go home with an unsafe or incorrect prescription, endangering their welfare. These medication mistakes could happen because of the following:

  • Illegible penmanship used in handwritten prescriptions
  • Inadequate information about other drugs and substances prescribed to the patient
  • Wrong drug or dosage based on the patient’s complicated health regimen
  • Inaccurate indications of how to take the medication
  • Improperly dispensed medication due to similarities with another drug
  • Administrative errors of the health care provider or pharmacy
  • The patient’s failure to fill in the prescription
  • Lack of medication sampling before utilization

Medical practitioners receive training to minimize errors and prevent them from happening. Still, they could happen for many reasons. Sometimes, drugs have complicated or vague names or appearances, causing confusion between them.

They might also interact with other substances, impacting the appropriate dosage. These mistakes could also happen if patients withhold crucial information about their condition and other prescribed medication.

Addressing medication errors

Medical professionals do not commit these mistakes deliberately. Their livelihoods and credibility are on the line when caring for their patients. However, they are responsible for maintaining a high standard of providing medical care regardless of their specialization. If their negligence caused the medication error, the patient could take legal action against the medical malpractice.


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