Anyone who takes prescription medication on a regular basis understands the importance of consistency and accuracy. Whether you pick up one or several medications on a regular basis at the pharmacy, every patient deserves to have peace of mind when they receive their prescription. After all, if a medication error were to take place, the consequences could result in injury, or in extreme cases, even death.
Improper dispensing of medications is more common than you may think—in fact, one in five Americans has experienced a medical error while receiving health care. The issue was given even greater attention more than four years ago, when a nurse typed two letters into a hospital’s computerized medication cabinet, selected the wrong drug from the results, and then administered a fatal dose to a patient. Because most hospital systems or pharmacies have computerized medicine cabinets, such technological vulnerability is not uncommon—and Maryland is no exception.
How can medication and pharmacy errors be prevented?
According to a recent news report, pharmaceutical safety experts are recommending a new method for medical practitioners to avoid pharmacy errors. With a new software update that requires drug names to be searched with five letters rather than three, experts are hoping that the fix will rectify issues surrounding withdrawing the incorrect drugs. Currently, most computerized medicine cabinet software programs require practitioners to type only three letters to search up a drug. For example, when a nurse types “M-E-T,” the search results could bring up anything from metronidazole to metformin. One of these drugs is an antibiotic—the other is for diabetes. Administering the wrong drug could yield disastrous results.
Under the new software update, medical staff would be required to type in five letters rather than just three. According to safety experts, it will be harder to withdraw the incorrect drug from computerized medicine cabinets, but also slightly more difficult to select the right one. Practitioners will be required to spell the names of complex drugs correctly, often in chaotic medical emergencies and situations.
Although sometimes the medicine you receive is out of your control if you are at the emergency room or in the hospital, there are other instances where patients can be proactive. For example, it is also pertinent that outside of relying on medical providers, patients check on their medications regularly when they go to pick them up from the pharmacy. Ensuring that the name of the patient, dosage, and drug name match what is normally expected is crucial to preventing any type of medication or pharmacy error. If anything looks out of place, it’s always good to just ask the pharmacist or provider to clarify.
Do You Need a Maryland Pharmacy Error Attorney?
If you or someone you know was recently injured or killed by a pharmacy or medication dispensing error, contact the lawyers at Lebowitz & Mzhen today for assistance. Our attorneys have years of experience defending the injured and will work to get you the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free initial consultation today, contact us at 800-456-1949.