Medication errors are a leading cause of death for patients throughout the United States. Every year, thousands of patients are injured or killed after being prescribed the wrong medication. These prescription errors include either prescribing the wrong dose, or prescribing a medication that will cause an adverse reaction when taken with another medication.
“Prescription medication errors are among the easiest errors to prevent. They are often caused by doctors and nurses who fail to properly review a patient’s medical history. In some cases, they are caused by pharmacists who incorrectly decipher a doctor’s handwriting,” remarked Chicago medical malpractice attorney Howard Ankin.
Last year, a study published by the US National Library of Medicine showed that prescription errors made by medical residents were alarmingly high. The study reviewed nearly 3,000 prescriptions and showed error rates for pediatric residents at 4%, family medicine at 11%, and internal medicine at 8%.
Nationally, medication errors and the harmful experiences they can cause are responsible for approximately 700,000 visits to the emergency room every year. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, that’s a number that represents more than 50% of all emergency room visits.
“Medication errors can cause overdoses that can lead to serious injury or patient death. With over 10,000 prescription medications available within the US, it’s necessary for physicians, nurses, and pharmacists to pay closer attention to the medications they are administering,” commented Chicago medical malpractice attorney Howard Ankin.
At greatest risk for medication errors are children and the elderly. This is because their bodies and age made it difficult for them to process an incorrect dose, or a medication that will cause side effects when combined with other medication.