Patients Advocacy Groups Explain How Medical Malpractice Prescription Drug Mix-Ups Occur

April 25, 2011

Statistics released by the Institute of Medicine show that over 106,000 people die each year from adverse drug reactions and 1.5 million Americans are affected by medication errors in hospitals each year. A mere 6% of all adverse drug reactions are properly identified. There are a number of causes that contribute to these errors and the following information taken from patient' advocacy groups will provide you with advice that can help you to avoid medical malpractice.

Patient' advocacy groups identify the most common types of medical errors below and offer their recommendations for ensuring that one of these errors does not harm your health. According to patient' advocacy groups, the most common error made when dealing with prescription drugs is due to two different drugs getting mixed up because they are spelled similarly. Quite often these drugs are used to treat entirely different afflictions and can be harmful if taken by someone that does not have the specific ailment they are intended for. Take Zyrtec and Zantac and Celebrex and Cerebyx for instance. A prominent Chicago medical malpractice lawyer just settled a million dollar case for a mix-up similar to this. Both drugs have similar spellings but are prescribed for entirely different medical problems.

Patient' advocacy groups also point out that there are other types of medication errors that can have serious consequences as well. These mistakes may stem from incorrect dosage, meaning too much or too little of the drug is provided. Other errors stem from bad interactions which occur when a patient is already taking a drug that conflicts with a newly prescribed drug. Allergic reactions can also stem from medications errors; patients can have reactions to medications prescribed whether or not their doctors were aware of the allergy.

The advocacy groups contend that most of these mistakes are due to human error. Doctors may choose the right drug, but the pharmacist may read it incorrectly due to bad penmanship. The doctor or pharmacists may get two names mixed up. Advocacy groups encourage you to make sure you are getting the right prescription in the right dosage to reduce the possibility of being the victim of medical malpractice. Advocacy groups recommend that when you are handed a prescription, look it over and ask any questions you may have. Once the prescription is filled, take the time to read the prescription label itself so you understand it completely before you begin using the drug. Check to be sure you have the right drug, in the right dose, in the right amount and always review the printed patient information provided about the drug before you begin taking it.

 
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