Hospitals Beginning to Place Pharmacists in the Emergency Room to Cut Down on Medication Errors

At the Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, 10 full-time pharmacists have been brought on to the staff to help combat medication errors in the emergency room. According to a recent report by NPR, the hospital views the addition of the pharmacists as a vital safety net.

As one emergency room physician put it, “Every single order I put in is reviewed in real time by a pharmacist in the emergency department prior to dispensing and administering the medication.” This is especially necessary in the emergency room, where there is no time to clarify what a doctor meant to prescribe.

The article also notes that medication errors are not necessarily caused by prescribing the wrong drug, although that is a large part of the problem. There are also thousands of cases each year where a patient is given a medication that they are allergic to or that reacts dangerously with another medication they are taking. Due in part to these reasons, medication errors are three times more likely to occur in children than in adults. In fact, one study found that nearly 25% of children’s prescriptions contain at least one error.

Each year, medication errors account for approximately 7,000 deaths and countless illnesses and injuries. At Children’s Medical Center alone, they are filling nearly 20,000 prescriptions a week. Multiply that by the number of hospitals nationwide, and the problem could become an epidemic.

Medication Errors in Maryland Hospitals

Maryland is known for several highly reputed hospitals, but even experts can make mistakes on occasion. When a hospital employee provides the incorrect medication to a patient, that patient faces a huge risk of serious injury or even death. Hospitals have a duty to prevent these kinds of mistakes from occurring. When they do, hospitals can be held liable for their mistakes.

The most common causes of medication errors in hospitals are:

  • Poor physician handwriting
  • Confusion between metric doses and other units
  • Poor package design
  • Confusion between drugs with similar names

Recovering in Prescription Error Cases

Recovering in a prescription error case can be tricky, but it is possible with the assistance of a dedicated pharmacy error attorney. The law in this area is complex and often looks to the duties that different individuals have to the patient. For example, the duty between the doctor and his patient may be different than the duty between that same patient and another hospital employee. In general, a successful case can be made out when someone who owes the plaintiff a duty of care violates that duty by failing to take the necessary precautions.

Have You Suffered an Injury Due to a Pharmacy Error?

If you or a loved one has recently suffered an adverse reaction to a medication that was not prescribed to you, or improperly prescribed to you, you may have be entitled to compensation for your injuries or losses. To learn more about the laws that allow the victims of pharmacy misfills and other pharmacy errors to recover for their injuries and pain and suffering, speak to a dedicated Maryland prescription error attorney. Click here, or call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free initial consultation with a experienced prescription error attorney.

More Blog Posts:

Colorado Man Recovers Over $10 Million in Pharmaceutical Error Case, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, May 7, 2014.

Drug Manufacturers Consent to Oversight by Federal Agency Following Increased Scrutiny, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, June 4, 2014.

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