Medication Errors Happen Often and in Many Ways

Every day a patient somewhere in the country is affected by some form of a medication error. These errors can occur at any point in the prescription process, starting when the doctor writes the script and when the pharmacist fills it. And unfortunately there are many ways in which medication errors can occur, some of which are described below.

  • Erroneous Diagnosis. This is when a doctor simply mistakes your condition and prescribes the wrong medication to you. Depending on the medicine your doctor has prescribed, the effects could be minor or traumatic. For more information on misdiagnosis, see this link to our other Carpey Law articles.

  • Errors in Writing of Prescription. This occurs when your doctor has accurately diagnosed you but has incorrectly written your prescription; for instance, miscalculating your dosage.

  • Incorrect Distribution of Drugs. These amount to pharmaceutical errors, which happens when a prescription is not properly filled by a pharmacist. Examples of this include a pharmacist misreading the name of the drug or confusing it with a similar drug.

  • Failing to Educate Patient. This is when a patient is not given a thorough rundown of the drug he or she has been prescribed. Doctors and/or pharmacists should explain to patients how a drug is taken, interpret any confusing language on the label, and warn of potentially hazardous drug interactions.

How to Prevent Medication Errors

Sometimes a patient simply cannot know that a medication error has occurred until the incorrect meds have been imbibed. However, there are some measures you can take to help ensure you are taking the correct medication, and taking said medication correctly.

  • Know Your Medication. Know what meds you’ve been prescribed and then check the label to make sure that’s the drug you’ve received.

  • Read Information Sheets. If you doctor or pharmacist has given you any literature with your medication, read it. You may be to catch an error if you get to know your drug better.

  • Know Harmful Drug Interactions. Make sure your doctor or pharmacist has not overlooked any potentially harmful drug interactions; especially interactions with common drugs. Sometimes the label of your medication will inform you of these interactions. If not, there are websites which will provide you with this information.

Medication errors committed by your doctor or pharmacist are serious and may entitle you to recover money for medical treatment and other financial losses. If you would like to know more about medication errors, please see the other relevant articles on the Carpey Law website.