Medical Mistakes Are the Third-Leading Cause of Death; Many Involve Pharmacy Errors

Many people are unaware, but medical mistakes are the third-leading cause of death in the United States, causing roughly 365,000 deaths per year. The category of medical mistakes is a broad category, including medical malpractice, diagnostic errors, surgical errors, and pharmacy errors.

Pharmacy errors occur when a pharmacist provides a patient with the wrong dose of a prescribed medication, the wrong directions on how to take a prescribed medication, or the wrong medication altogether. These errors may occur in the hospital setting or in a retail pharmacy, but errors occurring in the in-patient setting are even more frightening and surprising because the medication is actually delivered by a doctor or nurse. One would expect that this extra layer of interaction would result in most pharmacy errors being discovered before a medication is delivered to a patient, but that is not necessarily the case.

In a recent article discussing medical mistakes generally, as well as what can be done to prevent them, the writer mentions several precautions that can be taken to decrease the frequency of in-patient pharmacy errors. The first suggestion is to have pharmacists make rounds to see all patients in the hospital along with the doctors and nurses. The author explains that while doctors are in charge of a patient’s overall care plan, a pharmacist is a much-needed consultant when it comes to any potential interactions medications may have with one another. In fact, a recent study cited by the article notes that hospitals that have implemented this plan have seen a 94% reduction of serious pharmacy errors.

The author goes on to explain that another step hospitals can take to reduce the amount of serious pharmacy errors is to make the reporting of pharmacy errors mandatory, even if they do not result in the patient being seriously injured. Surprisingly, it is estimated that only 14% of all pharmacy errors are reported, and the vast majority of those come from Pennsylvania, the only state that requires “near miss” errors to be reported. By understanding the true frequency of pharmacy errors, researchers can better understand the root causes of the errors and can hopefully work to reduce them.

The duty to ensure that a prescription is properly filled lies with the pharmacist. However, there may be other parties that can be liable when a pharmacy error occurs, such as a doctor who prescribes medications that have a negative interaction with each other. To learn more about pharmacy error cases, contact a dedicated personal injury attorney.

Have You Been a Victim of a Pharmacist’s Negligence?

If you or a loved one has recently been a victim of a pharmacy error, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The skilled personal injury attorney at the Maryland and Washington, D.C. law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have decades of experience bringing cases on behalf of those who have been injured by a pharmacy error, and we understand the complexities inherent in this area of the law. Call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today. You will not be charged for our services unless we can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

More Blog Posts:

Pharmacist’s Error Results in Seven-Year-Old Boy Receiving Medication Ten Times Stronger than Prescribed, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, October 3, 2016.

Name Mix-Ups Are One of the Most Common Types of Pharmacy Errors, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, September 19, 2016.

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