Many people rely on medication every day to help them recover from illness or manage a chronic condition. When doctors, pharmacists or other healthcare professionals make mistakes regarding that medication, though, it can put their health in jeopardy. Not only does a medication error mean that a patient’s condition can go without proper treatment, taking the incorrect medication can put patients at risk of serious side effects. Why do these medication errors occur?
1. Issues in manufacturing can create faults with appropriate medication.
If drug companies manufacture medications that provide incorrect doses of the active ingredient or medications that are contaminated, those faulty drugs can put patients at risk. A drug’s label can also put patients at risk if it contains incorrect or inaccurate information.
2. Doctors may prescribe the wrong medication or dosage.
As patients, we depend on our medical providers to provide us with the best possible care, including prescribing medications that will heal our ailments. Doctors that prescribe inappropriate treatments for a condition, overprescribe medication or underprescribe fail to provide patients with that necessary care.
3. Poor communication limits the effectiveness of care.
Poor communication at any stage of the healthcare process can be dangerous to patients. If a patient’s medical record contains missing information, for example, a doctor may prescribe a drug without realizing that it harmfully interacts with another medication. Missing information can also lead doctors to prescribe medications to a patient who is allergic to that medication.
Doctors can also make errors when writing the prescription. If their writing is unclear, uses abbreviations or contains the incorrect medication name or dosage, that mistake can lead to confusion in filling out that prescription. As a result, a patient may receive the wrong medication or an inappropriate dose.
Whatever the cause for medication errors, it is possible for patients and their families to hold healthcare professionals responsible for their mistakes by taking legal action.