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What causes medication errors made by professionals?

| May 21, 2021 | Medical Malpractice

Medications can treat everything from fungal infections to chronic pain, but they require proper administration and oversight to benefit a patient.

You may assume that medical mistakes involving medication are a result of patients not following directions or making mistakes about timing. However, a significant number of modern medication mistakes are not the fault of the patients receiving care but rather the medical professionals providing it.

What are some of the more common ways that medical professionals accidentally make mistakes when administering medication?

They mistake one drug for another

When a nurse passes out medication in a hospital ward, they go from room to room dispensing drugs. The faster they have to perform this duty, the greater the risk of making a mistake and handing the wrong pills to the wrong person. The same thing can happen in a pharmacy.

The pharmacist or technician could put the wrong drugs in a prescription vial without the patient realizing it. Receiving the wrong drug can cause all kinds of issues, from an interaction with another medication to allergic responses.

They get the dose of the drug wrong

Commonly prescribed medications often come in multiple dosages and even different delivery systems. There may be a formula for people of different stages of life or for different sexes. Administering the wrong dose or the wrong delivery method of a drug is another mistake that could be as dangerous as giving someone the wrong drug. Too much medication could cause an overdose, while too little might prevent the treatment from succeeding.

There are timing errors with delivery of medication

In order to prevent overdoses and interactions, the administration of drugs needs to occur at specific, timed intervals. Unfortunately, medical staff working at inpatient facilities and those setting up intravenous IV medication could make timing mistakes that have a negative effect on patients.

Every year, thousands of people wind up hurt because of medication mistakes. Medication errors claim the lives of between 7,000 to 9,000 people every year in the United States. Those dealing with the consequences of a medication mistake and those who lose loved ones because of improper medical procedures may need to look at their options for taking legal action.

 

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