While the COVID-19 pandemic was understandably the most reported and challenging topic in medicine and healthcare during 2020 (and maybe for 2021, as well), it is important to remember that Maryland pharmacy errors—both COVID-19 related and not—have continued to occur with alarming rates.
Pharmacy errors occur when some mistake is made between the time a prescription is written and the time a patient takes the medication. These errors can come in many different forms. For example, the pharmacist may provide a patient with the wrong medicine or the incorrect dose.
Now that 2020 has come to an end, reflection on the mistakes of the past year is possible. The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) recently released a list of the Top 10 medication errors and hazards that occurred in 2020. Factors influencing the list include frequency of problems, the significance of the consequences to patients, and the potential for the errors to be avoided or minimized. ISMP recommends that these ten errors be top priorities in the new year.
What Are the Most Common Medication Errors?
The following are among the top 10 medication errors and hazards identified by ISMP:
- Prescribing, dispensing, and administering extended-release opioid medications to those patients who are not already receiving such medication on a daily basis. This practice has led to serious harm and death in the past, and continues to occur.
- Failure to use smart infusion pumps equipped with dose error-reduction systems in surgical settings, potentially leading to anesthesia errors.
- Errors involving the medication, oxytocin, many of which were caused by look-alike vials and label confusion.
- Errors involving COVID-19 vaccines, including label and mix-up issues, mixing and dilution errors, and unsegregated refrigerator and freezer storage of the vaccines.
- Use of the outdated “syringe pull-back” method of verification during pharmacy sterile compounding, which may lead to errors of the wrong concentration, strength, or product when making injections.
- Combining or manipulating commercially available sterile products (such as IV infusions or injections) outside of the pharmacy, where errors can more easily occur.
- Wrong route errors with tranexamic acid, caused by vial mix-ups.
- Use of error-prone abbreviations, symbols, or dose designations, which can be misunderstood, misread, or misinterpreted and lead to patient harm.
These errors are clearly complicated, but can cause serious harm. But patients who have been hurt due to one of these errors or another may not be sure what happened to them, or how to hold someone accountable. In these situations, they may consider contacting a personal injury attorney to learn how they can file a Maryland Pharmacy Error lawsuit.
Call a Maryland Pharmacy Error Attorney to Schedule a Free Consultation
To speak with a Maryland pharmacy error attorney, call Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, to schedule your free initial consultation with one of our attorneys. Our firm prides itself on providing excellent client representation in every case, and we are available to meet with you, risk-free, to discuss your case and how we can help you recover. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation, give us a call today at 800-654-1949. You can also reach us through our online form.