Prescription medication errors are the most common cause of medical malpractice lawsuits, according to studies by Jury Verdict Research, Marsh Inc., and the Risk Management Foundation. Roughly 1.3 million people are harmed every year by medication errors.
Medication errors are defined by the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention as preventable events that can cause inappropriate prescription drug use or patient harm.
The most common medication errors are:
* Not medicating a patient according to doctor’s orders
* Prescribing medicines at the wrong time or via the wrong route
* Not inquiring about drug allergies
* Not considering a patient’s age or physical condition when determining dosage
* Transcribing an illegible or incorrect drug name on a pharmacy prescription pad
* Prescribing the wrong drug for a patient’s condition
* Prescribing medications off-label
According to an FDA study that examined fatal medication error reports between 1993 and 1998, prescribing the wrong medicine and incorrect administration each comprised 16% of errors. The most common mistakes (41%) involved the administration of an improper medication dose.
Nearly half of fatal medication errors involved those over 60, but children are also at risk. Up to 70% of medicines do not come with safety guidelines for pediatric use. Drugs like analgesics, antibiotics and asthma medicines have been well-researched for safety in adults, but not for children. Physicians must estimate frequency and dosage. Too little or too much can have serious results.
Up to one in five prescriptions can involve prescribing off-label. Off-label prescriptions are drugs used to treat conditions other than those for which they received FDA approval.
If you or a loved one have been harmed by a medication error, the professional team of Maryland medical malpractice lawyers at Snyder & Snyder can help. Contact us now for a free consultation.