A common medical problem that affects many people is that of medication errors. In fact, medication errors harm more than one million Americans annually. It is estimated that pharmacies make nearly 30 million mistakes each year.
This should be alarming as medication mistakes may present serious consequences to patients who may have received the wrong medication or dosage. These consequences include serious injury and even death.
Pharmacies aren't the only place medication errors can be experienced. It is not uncommon for patients in a hospital to be misdiagnosed and treated with the wrong medication, or a patient mix-up leads to the wrong patient getting the prescribed medication.
Regardless of how the medication error occurs, at times these mistakes can be lethal to patients.
There are multiple reasons why these medication errors occur. Some point the finger to overworked pharmacists who suffer from fatigue, and as a result, are more prone to mistakes. Similarly, if a nurse gives a medication to the wrong patient, often times fatigue is thought to be the cause.
So how do you protect yourself from medication errors? Admittedly, many factors of protecting yourself are outside of your control, but that should not discourage you from being proactive. It starts simply by knowing your medications and dosages. When talking with your physician or pharmacist, be sure to ask questions if something sounds odd or outside of your normal.
Read the prescription medication's label extremely carefully and follow its directions. Those instructions are the results of years of trials that have determined the best and most effective way to use the medication.
Stick to your medication schedule and use the medication for its intended use alone. Too often patients who feel like the medication may not be working will take another dosage, or worse, they will use a medication designated to treat symptom A and use it to help treat a different symptom.
Medication errors are not uncommon and if you or a loved one may have been a victim to a medication error, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost income and pain and suffering. Medication errors are a form of medical negligence and malpractice, and finding an experienced medical malpractice lawyer to handle your case.