When they think about medical malpractice, most people envision a surgeon operating on the wrong patient or body part. Although this is a devastating error, mistakes can also happen in other medical situations.
Dispensing or prescription errors in the health care industry plague many New Jersey residents. Sometimes, the error worsens the patient’s condition or causes a new one to develop. Unfortunately, such mistakes can also result in the death of patients.
How do prescription errors occur?
They can arise in several scenarios, often because the names of multiple medications look a lot alike. In 2017, an Air Force veteran died after receiving the wrong medication periodically over 11 days. The drug that killed him closely resembled his prescribed medicine.
Other causes include:
- Illegible handwriting on prescriptions
- Misheard verbally ordered prescriptions
- Not accounting for patient allergies
- Failure to prescribe the right medicine or dose
Prescription errors occur on the part of physicians, nurses, pharmacists, hospitals and many others associated with the health care industry.
Can you reduce your risk?
You can minimize your risk of prescription errors by insisting your providers inform you about all components of your care and treatment. The following tips can help if you want to minimize your risk of drug errors:
- Learn the names of all drugs you take, including over-the-counter medicines.
- Study all drug information pamphlets pharmacies hand out to you.
- Find out how your prescription medications interact with one another.
- Learn how to spell and pronounce all your prescription drugs.
If you or a loved one has already suffered harm because of an error, explore your options under New Jersey medical malpractice laws. A compensatory award cannot erase your ordeal. However, it can improve your quality of life going forward.