Slate's Law Blog How Do Medication Mistakes Happen?

Pharmacists can cause medication mistakes

Nobody wants to think about the possibility of visiting a healthcare provider for a diagnosis and treatment or picking up a prescription from a local pharmacy, only to learn hours or days later that a serious medication error has been made. Patients often assume that healthcare providers will not make mistakes, but it is important to remember that healthcare providers, from doctors to nurses to pharmacists, are professionals who can have errors in judgment and can make mistakes as a result of negligence. When medication mistakes occur, patients can suffer serious, life-threatening, and even fatal injuries.

There are many different ways in which medication mistakes can happen, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and it is important for patients to know the risks and to be aware so that they can avoid sustaining injuries because of an error.

Prescribing a Medication that leads to Medication Mistakes

Medication errors commonly occur when a drug is being prescribed by a physician, nurse practitioner, or other healthcare provider. Mistakes that occur at this stage can include prescribing drugs that have harmful interactions with medications the patient already takes, prescribing the wrong drug, or prescribing the wrong amount of the drug. These errors can occur if a healthcare provider fails to carefully read a patient’s medical records, or if the healthcare provider is distracted while inputting the prescription information.

Entering a Prescribed Drug Into a Computer System Can Result in Medication Mistakes

Mistakes frequently occur when a prescription is put into a computer system. Whether it is the healthcare provider or a medical assistant, the wrong drug or dosage can be put into the system, resulting in a pharmacy receiving that incorrect information and filling a potentially dangerous prescription for the patient. Most of these mistakes result from human error, but sometimes technological or computer glitches can also result in errors.

Preparing or Dispensing a Medication

Pharmacists can be responsible for medication errors made while they are preparing or dispensing a medication. Pharmacists can put the wrong drug into a prescription bottle, or pharmacists can put the wrong amount of the correct drug into a patient’s prescription package. It is critical for patients to ensure that they have the medication prescribed by their healthcare provider and in the correct amount before using it.

Giving a Drug to a Patient

In hospital settings and in nursing home facilities, patients may not be able to take a medicine on their own, or they may be administered a medication through an IV. The person administering or giving a medication to a patient can make a mistake and can administer the wrong drug. Similar to other medication mistakes, these errors can occur for a variety of reasons, from distraction to fatigue to burnout for the healthcare provider.

Contact Our Santa Fe Medical Malpractice Attorneys

When a healthcare provider’s negligence results in an injury, it is essential to get in touch with a Santa Fe medical malpractice lawyer to find out about seeking financial compensation. Medical negligence can occur in a wide variety of settings, and most medication errors are the result of a healthcare provider’s negligence. Contact Slate Stern Law for more information about filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.


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