In 1999, the U.S. Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report claiming between 44,000 and 98,000 Americans die each year because of preventable medical mistakes. In data collected from Jury Verdict Research, Marsh Inc., and the Risk Management Foundation, it was found that the most common cause of medical malpractice lawsuits against hospitals are medication errors. In addition to those reports, the safety of prescription drugs has been a major healthcare concern since massive drug recalls have recently been announced. While numerous reports have been released finding FDA oversight of prescription drugs to be lacking, most medication errors result because of the following reasons:
Common Medication Errors
- 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 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 instructions
In addition, the use of prescription drugs for “off-label” uses presents particular problems in the area of medication errors. Off-label prescribing has become a common practice, as physicians frequently feel that they are allowing patients to benefit from drugs that were not initially approved for certain uses, Despite such intentions however, 70 percent of all drugs still do not come with pediatric safety guidelines. While commonly prescribed medications for children, such as antibiotics, asthma drugs and analgesics have been well studied in adults, the majority of drugs prescribed to children are off-label, creating a guessing game when it comes to determining proper dosing. With children, doctors tend to scale back dosing and frequency but neglect the significance of their differing metabolic rates. Because of this fact, children can be prescribed too little or too much of a medication with devastating results. The room for prescription error therefore, is significant.
Have You Been Injured By a Medication Error?
If you or a loved one has suffered a serious adverse event you believe was caused by a medication error, you may wish to contact our qualified attorneys at Oshman & Mirisola to learn more about your legal rights and options. You may be able to seek compensation for your medical expenses and more. We will evaluate your case FREE OF CHARGE to determine the best way to pursue your claim while protecting and maximizing your legal interests. Please contact us today at (800) 400-8182.