Preventable Medication Errors Are a Threat to Maryland Patients

The issuance and administration of medication can seem routine, but those procedures result in millions of errors, many of which are preventable. In the case of a medication error, a victim may be able to recover compensation if they are able to prove that the provider was negligent and that they suffered harm as a result.

In a medical negligence claim, plaintiff has to show that a defendant healthcare professional owed the plaintiff a duty of care, that the healthcare professional failed to meet the standard of care in acting or failing to act in some way, that the plaintiff was injured because of that failure, and that the healthcare professional’s lack of care caused the plaintiff injuries. Medication error cases can be difficult to prove, particularly because the patient is often already sick and suffering from some disease or condition to begin with. Reliable expert testimony is often crucial in these cases.

Plaintiffs in medication error cases may be able to recover compensation for medical expenses, physical therapy expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and other damages.

Medication Errors Cause Millions of Hospital Admissions Per Year

According to a recent article, medication errors reportedly result in two to five percent of all hospital admissions throughout the world. The majority of these errors are believed to be preventable. At least seven million patients suffer from preventable medication errors. The article states that the issue “threatens quality of care and patient safety” globally and adds to rising healthcare costs. The risk for medication errors increases if certain factors are present, including the complexity of the patient’s medication regimen, a patient’s advanced age, the use of high-risk medications, renal impairment, and the presence of chronic disease and co-morbidities.

One challenge discussed in the article is the inadequacy of the education given to patients about the drug they are prescribed. The article notes that patients should be counseled on the name, frequency, dosage, and indication of each their medications, and the duration of their treatment. The article recommends reiterating education for staff multiple times over months.

Another challenge is hospital settings, where a patient’s medical history may be incomplete or non-existent, in addition to other issues. The article notes recommendations that include employing a medication safety leader, standardizing medication concentrations, developing a plan in the case of drug shortages, and standardizing the ordering, storage, preparation, and administration of medications. Oncology patients are also a particular challenge, because patients may see multiple providers in different networks and use multiple pharmacies. This can make it difficult to manage an accurate list of the patient’s medication and provide education.

Have You Suffered from a Medication Error?

If you believe you may have suffered from a medication error due to the negligence of a healthcare professional, contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can advise you on your claim. The Maryland pharmacy error attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC represent plaintiffs in medication error cases and other medical malpractice cases in the Maryland and Washington, D.C. area. Our attorneys work closely with medical experts to pursue the compensation you deserve. Contact Lebowitz & Mzhen online, or call 1-800-654-1949 to set up a free consultation.

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