A recent article written by two medical professionals sheds insight into how and when prescription errors occur. According to the article, 7,000 to 9,000 people in the United States die each year as the result of a medication error. In addition, hundreds of thousands of other patients experience an adverse reaction or some other medical complication related to a medication. As we’ve written about before, these pharmacy and prescription errors can cause severe and life-threatening injuries to Maryland patients, so it is essential to be aware of them.
The article discusses the various types of medication errors. While doctors and pharmacists generally do a great job, sometimes errors do occur. A doctor might make an error when prescribing, for example, and may prescribe the wrong drug or the wrong dose. Pharmacists may give the medication to the wrong patient or accidentally tell the patient to take the medicine twice a day instead of twice a week.
These errors have three leading causes, as identified in the article. First, distraction, which accounts for nearly 75 percent of medication errors. Medical professionals are often busy and have many duties in a hospital. While speaking to patients, examining lab results, and ordering imaging studies, for example, they may be asked to quickly write a prescription. In these cases, when the job is done in haste, a medication error may occur—even with the best doctor. Second, distortion. Sometimes a doctor will prescribe a drug but use a symbol not widely recognized, or it will be translated improperly, and the actual drug administered will be slightly off. Last, illegible writing, as simple as it sounds, also leads to medication errors- a pharmacist may be unable to read what the prescription says and may thus use their best judgment and then administer the wrong medication.
In an ideal world, these errors would never occur. Unfortunately, however, as this article and others discuss, they do—even with the best doctors. Because of this, state laws, including Maryland, allow for injured parties to file a civil negligence suit against the party responsible for the error. The purpose of these suits is not to punish medical professionals, but rather to hold them accountable for the harm they caused and help the patient recover from their injuries. These suits, when successful, typically result in a patient receiving compensation to cover past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Contact a Maryland Medication Error Attorney
If you or a loved one has recently been injured or fallen ill due to a suspected or confirmed Maryland medication error, you may be entitled to financial compensation from the responsible party. Knowing how to begin seeking this compensation can be complicated and overwhelming. Fortunately, the advocates are Lebowitz & Mzhen, Personal Injury Lawyers, are here to help. Our compassionate and experienced attorneys know the ins and outs of Maryland personal injury law. Call today to discuss your case risk-free with one of our dedicated attorneys at 800-654-1949, or you can fill out our online form.