Studies have shown that approximately 1.3 million Americans are injured by prescription drug
errors each year. Although systems to detect medication errors are stronger
than ever before, a staggering number are harmed each and every day.
An FDA study found that approximately
41 percent of fatalities are caused by dosage errors. Dosage errors can occur when digits are misread
or measuring systems are confused. For example, a dose may indicate 1
teaspoon, but the pharmacist may accidentally label the bottle as 1 tablespoon
per dose. A nurse may give a patient ten times the prescribed dose of
insulin if they mistake the letter ‘u’ for unit with a zero
on the prescription pad.
Another common error involves the failure to detect contraindications to
medications based on the condition of the patient, or potential drug interactions.
Some patients with heart trouble, for example, cannot take certain medications.
If a doctor fails to read a patient’s chart thoroughly and does
not discover the heart issue, they may prescribe a potentially dangerous
medication. Pharmacists must check over a patient’s other medications
as well, to ensure that there will be no potentially harmful interactions.
How can I prevent prescription errors?
Be an informed patient! If a doctor prescribes you a medication, ask the
name and dosage of the medication. Make sure that it matches what you
pick up from the pharmacy. Whenever possible, use the same doctor and
the same pharmacy. This ensures that your records remain constant and
your doctor and pharmacist have the greatest ability to track for any
possible interactions or contraindications. Always double check prescriptions
after you pick them up at the pharmacy. Make sure your name is on the
bottle, and that the name and dosage match what your physician prescribed.
Note that some medications may come in a generic form. If you are unsure,
take a moment and ask your pharmacist. Also, some medications have a description
of the pill that should be inside the bottle. It’s always good to
A prescription error caused me harm. Do I have a case?
If you have been harmed by a prescription drug error, you may have a case.
experienced Oregon medical malpractice attorney for a free consultation about your situation. And remember- we charge
no attorney fees unless we win your case! You can rest assured that
Angel Law, PC, will put you and your needs first.