Maryland Healthcare Worker Shortage Leading to Pharmaceutical Errors

Reducing medication errors and improving patient outcomes is not a recent concern; however, the recent healthcare worker shortages have increased the likelihood of Maryland pharmaceutical errors. Improving the judicious use of prescription medications and reducing adverse reactions has been at the forefront of the public health movement. While these are legitimate concerns, they do not address the issues that stem from healthcare worker errors. Even simple errors can have long-term and disastrous consequences for a patient.

Medication errors refer to “an act that through ignorance, deficiency, or accident departs from or fails to achieve what should be done.” In the context of medication and pharmacy errors, patients maintain five “rights,” including the right medication, right dosage, right route, right time, and right patient.

Although errors occur for various reasons, some factors enhance the likelihood and severity of a mistake. These reasons include poorly written communications, failure to obtain informed consent, and systemic issues. Computerized systems and changing orders to plain English have helped to reduce errors. However, many pharmacies are understaffed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and increased demand for tests and vaccinations.

A recent article urges that the public should double-check their medications amid the growing staffing shortages. Many physician practices are noticing an increase in patients receiving the wrong medication. While the burden remains on the physician, pharmacist, and pharmacy, there are steps that patients can take to reduce these occurrences:

  1. Consumers and patients should open the bag and make sure the name on the medication matches the outer bag.
  2. Patients should look at their pills to make sure that the pills look similar to those they are used to taking. This can be difficult when a medication is new; however, searching for the medication online can reduce errors.
  3. Patients should not feel uncomfortable asking the pharmacist or doctor if they have any questions about their medication.

Incorrect medications can have fatal consequences to patients, significantly those immunocompromised or otherwise vulnerable. Vulnerable individuals include young children, pregnant women, and older adults. Immunocompromised refers to an underlying condition that may make them more susceptible to adverse reactions. These errors significantly contribute to morbidity, mortality, and increased demands on the healthcare system. Those who have experienced injuries because of a medication error should contact an attorney to discuss their rights and remedies.

Have You Suffered Injuries Because of a Pharmacy Error?

If you or someone you love has suffered injuries or died because of a medical or pharmaceutical error, you should contact Lebowitz & Mzhen. The Maryland pharmaceutical injury attorneys have extensive experience representing clients who have suffered negative outcomes because of a healthcare worker’s negligence. In addition, our office handles Maryland accident cases involving motor vehicle collisions, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse and negligence, defective product cases, and premises liability. Our skilled attorneys and support staff have secured significant amounts of compensation for our clients and their loved ones. COmpensation in these cases typically includes payments for medical expenses, ongoing treatment costs, and pain and suffering. Contact our office at 800-654-1949 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney on our team.

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