A medication error is any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the health care professional, patient, or consumer. According to the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention, as many as 98,000 people die in any given year from medical errors that occur in hospitals and a significant number of those deaths are due to medication errors.
What causes medication errors? Drug Topics - The Voice of the Pharmacist - says that medication errors can be caused by any number of things. The wrong drug may be prescribed or dispensed, the wrong strength dispensed, or wrong directions placed on the label. A provider could fail to give a medication, or the patient may be non-compliant, failing to take a medication when prescribed.
To protect you and your family, here are 6 precautions which should be taken:
- Keep a list of all your medications. This medication list should not only include prescriptions, but also any OTC drugs or dietary supplements. The dosage amount should be included for each. This list should updated regularly and kept in an accessible place so it is available when visiting doctors or pharmacists, going to health care facilities, or using EMS services. When new medications are prescribed, make sure those prescribing or filling the prescriptions, are aware of the drugs you already have and discuss with them any interaction problems.
- Keep professionals informed. Doctors and pharmacists need to know your medication allergies or any unpleasant drug reactions you may have experienced.
- Know what drug you are taking and what it is for. In case there is some confusion about a drug name, it is important to find out what drug you will be taking and what it is for.
- Understand the drug directions. Make sure you know how to take the drug. Understand the directions and ask about any side effects, if any.
- Read the label. Reading the label of every medication, OTC drug and dietary supplement is important to your safety. The FDA (Food & Drug Administration) requires medication labels to clearly list active ingredients, uses, warnings, dosage, directions, how to store medicine, expiration dates etc. Prescription drugs also show the shape and color of the tablet on the label.
- Be observant. If your pills look different from the ones you are used to taking, be cautious. If you notice a different drug name or different directions from what you think they should be, be safe and ask questions.
Fort Myers Prescription Errors Attorney, Randall Spivey of Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. represents those who have been victims of prescription errors. Their experienced team investigates why the prescription error occurred, and who was responsible.
Personal Injury Attorney, Randall L. Spivey is a Board Certified Trial Attorney – the highest recognition for competence bestowed by the Florida Bar and a distinction earned by just one (1%) percent of Florida attorneys. He has handled over 2,000 personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Florida. For a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights, contact the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., in Lee County at 239.337.7483 or toll free at 1.888.477.4839,or by email to Randall@SpiveyLaw.com. Visit SpiveyLaw.com for more information. You can contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.in Charlotte County at 941.764.7748 and in Collier County 239.793.7748.