How To Reduce Your Risks Of A Medication Error

September 20, 2018 | By O'Connor Acciani & Levy
How To Reduce Your Risks Of A Medication Error

While medication helps provide valuable treatment for many medical conditions, it can sometimes cause harm to patients when it is not properly administered or prescribed. Different types of medications may also have dangerous interactions with one another. If you or a loved one was injured by a medication error, the skilled Cincinnati medical malpractice attorneys at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy can help. We offer a free, no obligation consultation to discuss your possible legal recovery.

What Causes Medication Errors?

Medication errors are often caused by overworked and fatigued nurses and other health care providers. These workers are often required to work 36 hours or more without a break. This may lead them to make a mistake because their judgment is impaired or they are trying to help many patients at once. In other situations, health care providers may not be familiar with the medication. They may not be aware of possible side effects or adverse reactions. Health care providers may fail to talk to the patient or acquire relevant medical history information. There may be a lack of communication between the treating physician and the patient. The wrong medication may also be prescribed due to poor penmanship. Poor record keeping is another possible cause of medication errors.

Common Types Of Medication Errors

Medication errors can occur for a number of reasons. Some common types of medication errors include:
  • Prescription errors – A doctor may prescribe the wrong medication that will not treat the underlying problem or a medication with risky side effects. A doctor may even prescribe medication that interacts dangerously with another.
  • Dosage errors – A dosage error can occur when a health care provider prescribes the wrong dosage or improper dosage of medication to a patient.
  • Fragmented care errors – Fragmented care errors often occur due to a lack of communication. The prescribing physician and other health care providers may not have all relevant medical history or may have miscommunicated about the patient’s health care history.
  • Administration errors – These errors occur when the health care provider does not administer the medication appropriately, such as poorly injecting medicine that is not delivered to the body properly.
  • Omission errors – Omission errors happen when a health care provider neglects to provide a dosage of medication when necessary.

Preventing Medication Errors

You can take proactive steps to prevent medication errors. Here are some tips:

Get Familiar With Your Medication

Know everything you can about your medications, including the following:
  • The brand name or generic name of your medication
  • The purpose of the medication
  • The dosage
  • How long you should continue to take it
  • What to do if you miss a dose or take more than prescribed
  • The possible side effects
  • What activities you should avoid after taking a dose of medication
  • How your medication will interfere with your other medications
Talk to your health care provider about all of this information. Carry a current list of medications and dosages with you.

Communicate With Your Pharmacist

Many medication errors occur because of communication problems, so it is important that you communicate with your pharmacist and health care providers. Discuss the medication with your pharmacist and be sure that you understand all aspects of your consultation. Understand the dosage and the purpose of the medication. Also, be sure you participate in the medication reconciliation process. This process involves comparing the list of medications your pharmacist or health care provider has with the medications you are currently taking. Your pharmacist may have forgotten a medication you are on or may not have that information if you use multiple pharmacies. Being part of this process can help you avoid negative drug interactions, the overprescribing of medications or dosing errors.

Advocate For Your Own Health

No one can advocate for your own health as well as you can. Be watchful of health care providers. Write down what your doctor says and make sure this matches up with the medication you are prescribed. Ask your doctor to send prescriptions digitally to avoid writing mistakes.

Speak With A Licensed Lawyer In Cincinnati

If you believe that you suffered a medication error due to a negligent health care provider, it is important that you contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney for assistance. At O’Connor, Acciani & Levy, a licensed medical malpractice lawyer in Cincinnati can assist you with every aspect of your claim. We provide a free initial consultation to discuss your options for recovery. We can answer any questions you have about potentially filing a medical malpractice claim and can assess whether you may be entitled to compensation. We can conduct an investigation to determine the cause of your medication errors and explore the possible avenues for recovery. We charge no upfront fees. We only get paid if we help you recover compensation for your claim, so there is no risk in learning more about your legal options.