When you are suffering from a medical problem, and you are prescribed medication to treat your condition, you’re supposed to be able to trust your physician and other healthcare providers, such as nurses, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacists, to ensure you get the right medication and in the right dose. However, many of the medical malpractice claims filed in recent years involve medication errors, whether it be the incorrect dispensing of a medication or medications in the wrong amount or dosage.
A study published by the British Medical Journal found that in a meta-analysis involving 70 studies that included data from 337,025 patients, approximately 12 percent of the patients in the suffered harm because of medical errors. That means that more than one out of every ten patients suffered as a result of a medical mistake. Furthermore, the study concluded that more than half the above mistakes (over 20,000 injuries) were preventable.
The incidents that could have been prevented were divided into three categories – mild, medium, and severe. About 49 percent of the accidents that could have been prevented were classified as mild, 36 percent were of a moderate nature, and the remaining 12 percent ranked as severe.
Prescription Errors Play A Major Role
The above study concluded that the most common type of preventable patient harm evolved from one of three broad categories: invasive surgical and medical procedures, therapeutic management, and medications. About one-fourth of the preventable instances of patient harm involved the last category, drug management. The lead author of the study, who is the senior lecturer at the University of Manchester, said additional measures should be taken to ensure there is an elimination of such errors.
“Our study finds that most harm relates to medication, and this is one core area that preventable strategies could focus on,” Maria Panagioti, the lead author of the study said in an email to NBC. The study urges action because preventable harm is a serious problem in various different settings where medical care is rendered.
When Prescription Error Is Considered Medical Malpractice
Many prescription drug errors are considered medical malpractice. Here are some common ways that prescription drug errors happen:
- Administering an incorrect or wrong drug to a patient
- Administering an incorrect or wrong dosage of a drug to a patient
- Mislabeling a medication
- Prescribing a medication to a patient with an allergy to the drug
- Prescribing a medication that interacts negatively with a patient’s other medicines
- Failing to warn a patient of medication side effects
Who is Liable for Prescription Drug Errors?
If you or a loved one has been injured by a prescription drug error, you may be able to pursue a medical malpractice claim against the party who made the mistake. Anyone involved with prescribing drugs to patients can be held liable for a prescription drug error, and that can range from the treating physician to the nurses and hospitals to the pharmacy staff, pharmacist, and even the pharmaceutical manufacturer.
If you have been a victim of a prescription or medication error in Los Angeles, call a California malpractice attorney as soon as possible. Contact The Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq. at (310) 289-2600 to schedule your free case review today.