Medication Errors in Georgia
Medications are used by millions of Americans every day to treat, cure and prevent various ailments.Such remedies are typically divided into over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, which are available without special restrictions, and prescription drugs, which must be prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner.
Although medical professionals are expected to prescribe and provide the right medication in the right dose, the reality is that medication errors are one of the most common types of medical malpractice.Pharmaceutical errors can have serious consequences, such as allergic reactions, dangerous drug interactions, delayed treatment of the medical condition, organ failure and even death. For more than 50 years, the Macon injury lawyers at the Mann Law Firm have been successfully representing injured people. If you or someone you love has been injured as the result of a medication error, we have the skill and experience necessary to get the compensation you deserve in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Contact us today by calling (478) 742-3381 or by filling out our online form. From our office in Macon, we are centrally located to help people throughout Middle Georgia, including those in the communities of Dublin, Warner Robins or Milledgeville.
Causes of Medication MistakesDespite a generally high level of professionalism in the field of medicine, errors inevitably occur and the wrong drug can cause catastrophic injuries. There are many kinds of medication errors including:
- Disregarding a patient’s allergies
- Disregarding potential drug interaction problems
- Erroneous diagnosis
- Failing to properly counsel a patient about taking the medication
- Filling a prescription with the wrong dosage of medication
- Filling a prescription with the wrong medication
- Filling a prescription with the wrong patient’s prescription
- Filling a prescription with the wrong quantity
- Illegible handwriting
- Not considering the weight and age of a patient
- Overly medicating a patient.
Incident Rates of Medication ErrorsMore than 1.5 million people are injured each year as a result of errors made in prescribing, administering and monitoring prescription drugs, according to a study by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. The study suggests there is at least one medication error per hospital patient per day, although error rates vary widely across facilities. With as many as 12 percent of the handwritten orders for medicine containing errors, it was hoped that the advent of electronic medical records (EMR) would reduce those errors caused by illegible handwriting. To encourage adoption of EMR, the federal government has been offering financial incentives to healthcare providers that move forward with EMR implementation and meet certain EMR requirements. Yet a 2012 report analyzing 3,850 computer-generated prescriptions written over a four-week period found that 452 contained errors, including 163 that could harm the patient. The rate of drug prescriptions sent electronically to pharmacies containing errors matched the error rate for handwritten scripts. Errors included the omission of key information, improper abbreviations, conflicting information about how or when to take the drug and clinical errors in the choice or use of the treatment.
Drug errors can be the fault of any medical professional and can occur in pharmacies, hospitals, doctor’s offices and nursing homes.Mistakes can occur at any step of the medication process, from how the medication was ordered from the manufacturer, to how the pharmacy mixed, packaged and labeled the drug, to how it was brought and administered to the patient. Errors in drug administration pose such a risk to patients that these “five rights” of medication use have been unofficially adopted by many healthcare professionals:
- Right medication
- Right patient
- Right dosage
- Right route
- Right time.