Are You Certain You Received the Right Prescription and Know How to Take It?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received nearly 30,000 voluntary reports about medication errors since 1992, but estimates that actual incidents occur at a significantly higher rate. Because prescription errors can cause severe illness or even death, patients need to understand the common causes of errors, how to take a proactive approach to prevent them and when to seek legal assistance from a medical malpractice lawyer.
Unfortunately, many medication errors are caused by miscommunication and a lack of careful oversight by prescribing physicians, pharmacies and, to some degree, even patients themselves. In a report on common medication errors, the FDA cited a number of common factors that cause potentially deadly medication errors, including:
- A prescription for one medicine is filled by a pharmacy with a different medicine with a similar name
- Dosing errors involving increased levels of a medication or incorrect instructions, causing patients to take medicine more frequently than recommended
- Delivering medications to the wrong patient
- Prescription misinterpretations by pharmacists who misread handwritten instructions
In a state with the greatest proportion of individuals age 65 and older, Floridians are likely exposed to a significant rate of potential prescription errors. Patients and their caregivers can help prevent many errors by carefully reviewing prescriptions with their doctors immediately upon receipt. Patients and caregivers also need to look at the name on the bottle and ask questions at the pharmacy to confirm they have received the correct medication in the correct dosage. For extra safety, patients or caregivers may want to call the prescribing doctors to review the instructions on the medicine container prior to taking or giving the first pill.
While patient diligence can go a long way to saving lives, you need to understand that the responsibility for prescription errors ultimately lies with prescribing physicians and pharmacies. If you or a loved one suffers as the result of a medication error, you need to seek immediate advice and support from an experienced Florida medical malpractice attorney.