Medication Errors and How They Occur

Unfortunately, incorrect or erroneous distribution or application of medications is surprisingly present in the United States. In fact, some sources cite a rate of one in five Americans experiencing a medical error while receiving health treatment. Unfortunately, Maryland is no exception to this trend, and Maryland residents should be aware of emerging best practices in the face of the increased computerization of pharmacies and hospital medication cabinets.

Additionally, medication errors are among the most common medical errors, harming at least 1.5 million people every year. The extra medical costs of treating drug-related injuries occurring in hospitals alone are at least $3.5 billion a year, and this estimate does not take into account lost wages and productivity or additional healthcare costs, the report says. Medication error morbidity and mortality costs are estimated to run $77 billion dollars per year. Patient safety is a major public health concern.

What Are Medication Errors

According to a recent news piece from the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP), the working definition of medical errors from the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error and Prevention is: “any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm, while the medication is in the control of the health care professional, patient, or consumer. Such events may be related to professional practice, health care products, procedures, and systems including: prescribing; order communication; product labeling, packaging and nomenclature; compounding; dispensing; distribution; administration; education; monitoring; and use.”

How do Medication Errors Occur?

Administering drug therapy is a complex and nuanced practice for medical providers. Errors can and do occur at every step of the process. Common causes of medication errors include incorrect diagnosis, prescribing errors, dose miscalculations, poor drug distribution practices, drug-device problems, incorrect drug administration, failed communication, and lack of patient education. Historically, one of the most significant causes of medication errors is incorrectly prescribed medication. From 1995 to 2000, patient deaths resulting from drug errors rose from 198,000 to 218,000. It is estimated that such errors cost the U.S. economy over $177 billion per year.

Medication errors persist in the medical system because the process for safely prescribing and ordering medication is often not appropriately utilized. One widely recognized source of improper medication is illegibly handwritten prescriptions. Other causes include insufficient or missing information about co-prescribed medication, past dose-response relationships, laboratory values, and allergies.

Do You Need a Maryland Pharmacy Error Attorney?

If you or someone you love has been injured or killed by a pharmacy or medication error in the Prince George’s, Baltimore, Charles, or Montgomery County region, let the attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen help you recover the damages you deserve. Expenses and injuries from pharmacy errors can quickly become overwhelming, and having an experienced team of lawyers by your side can make all the difference. Our attorneys have successfully represented injury victims at every stage of the process, ensuring that they obtain the proper damages. With our team, you can have faith that your claim is being pursued properly. If you have questions about your case, call us today at 800-654-1949 and schedule a free and no-obligation initial consultation with a Maryland injury lawyer at our office.

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