New Insulin Use Guidelines Aim to Reduce Risk of Insulin Prescription Errors

Patients have to put a great deal of faith in their doctors, nurses, and pharmacists. We put our lives in the hands of medical providers. But medical providers can make mistakes just like anyone else. Since medication errors occur all too frequently, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists have to be vigilant in making sure that every patient is getting the right medication.

Proving Negligence in Medication Error Cases

To recover damages in a Maryland medication error case, a plaintiff must show that the defendant acted negligently. Negligence can be shown by demonstrating that the defendant was negligent in doing or failing to do something. A plaintiff must show the following elements:  the defendant had a legal duty to use due care toward the plaintiff, the defendant failed to perform that duty, the plaintiff suffered damages, and the defendant’s failure to perform the required duty caused the plaintiff’s damages.

Examples of damages available to medication error victims include medical expenses, lost wages, physical therapy, and loss of earning capacity.

Organization’s Insulin Recommendations Aimed at Reducing Risk of Errors

Insulin, a hormone used to help regulate blood sugar levels, can result in significant patient harm when used incorrectly. It is considered a high-alert medication, due to the serious effects its incorrect use can have. According to one news source, new guidelines have been released in order to address that danger.

In a 2014 survey of pharmacists and nurses conducted by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, IV insulin was first among almost 40 drugs as a high-alert medication, and subcutaneous insulin ranked ninth in the same survey. In addition, subcutaneous insulin ranked last among pharmacists’ and nurses’ confidence in the effectiveness of hospital-wide precautions to prevent serious errors.

Due to these findings, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices held a national summit with practitioners, regulatory bodies, insulin vendors, and professional organizations to develop subcutaneous insulin use guidelines. The organization recently released a set of recommendations for safe subcutaneous insulin use. For example, the organization received many reports of insulin dosing errors because a syringe with a U-500 scale was previously unavailable. The new guidelines state that patients using U-500 insulin should use a U-500 syringe to measure their dose. Another recommendation the organization provides is to use a patient-specific bar code label on an insulin pen, without blocking the dose window, before dispensing the medication. The organization also encourages the removal of irrelevant information from insulin labeling to help reduce the risk of errors caused by obscuring important information on the label.

Contact a Medication Error Lawyer

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury as a result of a medication error or pharmacy mistake, Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers can help. Our attorneys represent plaintiffs in medical malpractice and pharmacy error cases throughout the Maryland and Washington, D.C., areas and know what it takes to build a successful case. We work closely with medical experts to evaluate your claim and aggressively pursue the compensation that you deserve. Call us at 800-654-1949 or 410-654-3600 or contact us online for a free consultation.

More Blog Posts:

The Risks of Pharmacy Compounding Errors in Hospitals May Be Under-Appreciated, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, September 15, 2017.

Pharmacy Errors Resulting from Incorrectly Read Prescriptions, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, September 1, 2017.

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