Every day, millions of Americans take, are prescribed, or are given medication by their doctors. According to the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, doctors have access to more than 10,000 different prescription medications, and almost one-third of Americans regularly take five or more prescription drugs.
These powerful, innovative, and effective drugs can ease the pain, treat all manner of ailments, and save lives. But if a patient is given the wrong medication or an incorrect dose, or if a physician fails to properly evaluate the risks that a drug may have on a patient given his or her condition and medical history, tragedy can follow.
It is estimated that preventable medication errors impact more than 7 million American patients every year, and the costs of treating the harm that results from these mistakes are almost $21 billion annually. These costs – from additional surgeries, prolonged hospital stays and rehabilitation, disability, birth defects, and other corrective treatments – don’t include the suffering and loss experienced by patients and their families who must go through the excruciating aftermath of an avoidable medication error
The experienced Louisiana medical malpractice attorneys at the Patrick Yancey Law Firm have seen the impact that medication errors can have on patients and their families who placed their trust in physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and others who then breach their duty of care to prescribe and administer medication appropriately. With a commitment to our clients’ well-being that is matched by our determination to get them the compensation and justice they deserve, we aggressively pursue medical malpractice claims for medication mistakes.
What Are Medication Errors?
The National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention defines a medication error as:
“Any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the healthcare professional, patient, or consumer. Such events may be related to professional practice, health care products, procedures, and systems, including prescribing, order communication, product labeling, packaging, and nomenclature, compounding, dispensing, distribution, administration, education, monitoring, and use.”
How Do Medication Errors Happen?
As the above definition notes, medication errors can happen in any number of ways between the time a doctor prescribes a drug to the time the patient takes or is given the drug. Multiple steps and several professionals are involved in the process, and a catastrophic mistake can occur at any point.
Some of the most frequent medication mistakes include:
- Filling the wrong prescription.
- Labeling mistakes.
- Incorrect dosages.
- Failure to monitor and/or treat a problem indicated by the patient’s vital signs.
- Failure to account for possible interactions with other drugs.
- Patient allergies.
- Documentation errors.
Sometimes, the consequences of a medication error become immediately apparent, with the body reacting suddenly and unexpectedly to the drug. Other times, however, the harm caused by a medication error may not manifest for some time. In either case, it is critical that you alert your physicians if you are experiencing any complications or adverse effects from medication.
Speak With a Louisiana Medication Error Attorney Today
It is also vital that you speak with an experienced medication error lawyer as soon as you suspect you may have been a victim of a medication mistake. At the Patrick Yancey Law Firm, we can evaluate your case, advise you of your options, and pursue compensation for your losses if we determine that those responsible for your health and treatment acted negligently. We offer free initial case evaluations, so please call us today to discuss your questions and concerns.