New York Medication Error Attorney
According to Johns Hopkins patient safety experts, more than 250,000 deaths occur each year due to medical errors in the United States.
This figure surpasses the previous record held by respiratory disease, making medication error the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) third leading cause of death in the country.
Due to the high volume of deaths, researchers want death certificates updated to include medical mistakes as a cause of death. It’s important for anyone needing assistance with a medication error lawsuit to understand that there is growing awareness of this problem.
If you have suffered from or affected by medication errors in New York, the attorneys at The Oshman Firm offer our deepest sympathies. This is a difficult time and you may benefit from having legal experts on your side.
To learn more about your legal rights and options, contact our firm today by calling (800) 400-8182. Moving forward, we guarantee a supportive environment and a pain-free procedure, as we work hard to seek the compensation you may deserve. Let us be your advocates.
How Medication Errors Happen
Medical errors exist in a variety of forms, with consequences ranging from short and long-term harm, to immediate impairment and death. According to the US Department of Health, medication errors cause one death per day, and another 1.3 million people (approximately) are injured.
Specifically, mistakes can occur almost anywhere in the distribution process, including:
Common Causes of Medication Errors
Medication errors can have many origins. From drug manufacturer mislabeling to prescriber’s insufficient knowledge or training of a product to even mis-labeling on packages.
Other frequent causes of medication errors include:
- Poor Communication
- Ambiguities in Product Names and/or Directions
- Medical Abbreviations or Writing
- Poor Procedures or Techniques
- Patient Misuse
- Patient Misunderstanding of Directions
Back in June 1992, the Medication Errors Subcommittee was formed to assist with the ongoing issue, permitting physicians and other healthcare professionals to report medication errors directly to the FDA via a MedWatch program. Still in effect today, current measures to assist with these different errors center around preventing problems prior to a drug’s approval, presenting proper education and closely monitoring all reports.
While these efforts have been underway, medication errors continue to happen and people injured because of these errors often need substantial help for recovery. To learn more about medical malpractice cases and filing a claim, contact our firm today.
Types of Medication Errors
If you have been a victim of a medication error, you may be able to pursue legal action. These cases are often complex, as there are several types of medication errors that can take place, such as:
- Prescribing the wrong dosage based upon a patient’s physical condition or age
- Prescribing the wrong medication for the condition being treated
- Failing to make an inquiry of a patient concerning his or her history of drug allergies
- Transcribing the incorrect drug name, or an illegible drug name on the pharmacy prescription pad
- Prescribing the administration of medication at the wrong time, or through the wrong route
- Inappropriately prescribing medication for “off-label” or unapproved therapies
- Neglecting to medicate a patient consistent with a doctor’s instruction
- Failing to recognize a possible conflict with other medications currently being taken by the patient
- Failing to inform the patient of potential risks connected with taking the medication
Though medical professionals (i.e. doctors, nurses, pharmacists, etc.) are trusted to ensure patients receive the appropriate care needed to get well, errors tragically happen, resulting in pain and suffering.
The Risk Factors with Medication Errors
Depending on a patient’s specific background, the risk of a medication error can range in both probability and severity. For example, elderly and pediatric patients are at higher risks than the rest of the population.
- Elderly patients are at risk due to polypharmacy, which is a circumstance where a patient takes more medications than clinically indicated. A patient who takes multiple medications can become more vulnerable to risks and errors, because one drug stands the chance of counteracting with another.
- Pediatric patients are also at a higher risk for error, and these usually when they are hospitalized. Medication errors may occur from health workers providing improper dose amounts. Typical factors contributing to the error comes from providing an incorrect medicine dose which should be administered according to a child’s weight.
Avoiding medication errors and being aware of risks requires professional advice. Currently, a list of risky, high-alert medications has been created and maintained by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices for public use. This list details a variety of medications that have the potential to cause harm or side effects when taken incorrectly or interchangeably, including drugs that look-alike, sound-alike, have similar names and appearances, but different purposes.
Never stop taking a drug without consulting a doctor.
Preventing Adverse Reactions
It’s common for most medication errors to take place during the prescribing or transcribing phase. However, errors can occur throughout any step of the process – from a doctor’s initial decision to prescribe the drug, to the patient fulfilling the subscription and accurately ingesting it. In order to prevent an adverse reaction, caution must be considering with the following:
- Ordering: It’s the doctor’s job to not only choose the most appropriate medication for the patient, but also the correct dosage, and often it should be taken.
- Transcribing: When dealing with a paper-based system, either a clerk in the hospital, pharmacist or pharmacy technician has the responsibility of accurately reading and interpreting the doctor’s order.
- Dispensing: The pharmacist is tasked with checking for drug interactions and allergies, before dispensing the right amount of medication, as well as in the proper form.
- Administration: Depending on the setting, a nurse, caregiver or actual patient may be responsible for this task. It’s imperative for the correct medication to be given to the appropriate patient, and at the right time.
Different methods to help avoid medication errors in all areas listed above include:
- Computerizing order entries to evade handwriting errors.
- Incorporate barcode medication administration to help ensure correctness.
- Minimize interruptions when administering medications.
- Direct clinical pharmacist to oversee all medication dispensing procedures.
- Educate all patients on the medications they’ve been prescribed, and verify proper understanding of labels and instructions.
Speak to a Medication Error Attorney For More Information
Contact the attorneys at The Oshman Firm today by calling (800) 400-8182 to learn more about your legal rights or options in regards to medication errors and other forms of medical malpractice. Depending on your case, you may qualify for compensation to assist you with medical bills or lost wages. And while compensation cannot take the place of your pain and suffering, gaining financial recovery may help if you’ve suffered considerable injury.
Learn more about hiring the right attorney. We look forward to being your advocates – contact us today.