Hensley Cloninger & Greer, P.C. Hensley Cloninger & Greer, P.C.

How Health Care Professionals Make Errors With Medications

It’s understandable that a person could misread a medication’s label and take the wrong dose at the incorrect time. You might also get how a patient would accidentally treat their symptoms with the wrong medication.

You likely expect a bit more attention to detail from medical care providers, though. Unfortunately, health care professionals can make mistakes when prescribing, formulating, or administering drugs that can significantly and adversely impact your health.

What are some of the more common medication errors that occur?

There is likely an endless list of prescription errors that can and do happen. Some of the more common ones that occur include patients:

  • Receiving an incorrectly prepared (as in the case of compounding) or administered drug
  • Being given the wrong medication instead of the one that their doctor originally prescribed
  • Receiving the wrong dosage (either too much or little) of the prescribed medication
  • Being administered a drug that can cause an allergic reaction or that creates an adverse interaction (due to an inadequate medical history being taken)
  • Receiving an expired medication (which may have reduced potency)

The following individuals can all engage in actions that result in a patient suffering an adverse drug event:

Drug manufacturers: They can rush to release a drug on the market without knowing all of its side effects. Contamination in their labs may lead to adverse patient outcomes.

Pharmacists: They may fill the prescription with the wrong drug, too high of a dosage or improperly formulate compounded medications.

Doctors: They may not take a thorough patient medical history or track a patient’s medical condition, resulting in the wrong prescribing and thus patient outcomes.

Nurses: They may administer the wrong drugs or dosages at inappropriate intervals, adversely impacting a patient’s prognosis.

Each party in the supply chain from manufacturing to the administration of drugs owes patients the responsibility to ensure that they follow high-level safety standards and exercise a certain standard of care. They put a patient’s health on the line when they don’t. This is why product liability and medical malpractice laws allow you to hold any parties along this supply chain liable.

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