Prescription errors are a serious danger to the people of Indianapolis
Medication errors and prescription mistakes are one of the most common forms of medical malpractice. A 2009 study published in the medical journal The Lancet showed that nearly one-tenth of prescriptions written in hospitals contain some type of error. In the U.S. the Institute Of Medicine reported that about 1.5 million Americans are harmed or killed each year by a prescription mistake that is made either in a hospital, doctor's office or a pharmacy. These mistakes include writing the wrong prescription, dispensing the wrong prescription, giving the wrong dosage or providing the wrong instructions. Medication mistakes also include harmful drug interactions and adverse drug reactions. Victims of prescription error may remain sick, get sicker, develop new symptoms and permanent disabilities, or die. Twenty-percent of prescription errors are potentially fatal.
Prescription error occurs when:
- A doctor writes a prescription for the wrong drug, wrong dosage, or gives the wrong instructions.
- The pharmacy technician can't read the writing on the prescription and guesses, or mistypes the dosage or instructions.
- The pharmacist does not ask for information about allergies and other medications, mistypes this information, or does not get complete information from the patient.
- The pharmacist fills the prescription with the wrong drug or wrong dosage of the drug.
- The pharmacist or technician does not check the prescription for accuracy.
- The patient is not informed about possible dangers, interactions and side-effects.
All medication errors are preventable. You can avoid becoming a victim of medication errors by taking a few simple precautions.
- Keep a written record of all medications that you are taking. Write down the name of the medication, the dosage, what you are taking the medication for and how often you are taking it. Be sure to include any vitamins or herbal supplements that you take. Some of these can cause serious drug interactions. Show the list to your doctor and pharmacist.
- Get the facts about your medication. Ask your doctor what the medication is, why you are taking it, what the dosage is, and how you should take it. Ask about side effects.
- Never refuse the consultation with the pharmacist. Ask if there is anything that you should avoid eating or drinking while on the medication. Ask what side effects are normal and what could be dangerous.
- Read your prescription, medication bottle and all fact sheets. Make sure that the information you are receiving is consistent. If you have any questions, ask.
- Take all medication as directed. Finish your prescriptions and follow all instructions. Never share medication.
- Report any unusual side effects. If you experience any unusual side effects, call the doctor or pharmacist immediately. If it is after hours, you can call the emergency on-call doctor at your local hospital. If you must take any medical tests while on medication, make sure that you do so.
If you were injured or lost a loved one to a medication mistake, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses. The attorneys at Hensley Legal Group have successfully represented victims of medical malpractice in Indiana for over twenty years. We believe that anyone who is injured is entitled to professional and respectful legal representation. Contact a personal injury lawyer at the Indianapolis office of Hensley Legal Group for a free initial consultation and learn how we can help you.