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The dangers of prescription drug errors

On Behalf of | Mar 15, 2021 | Blog, Medical Malpractice

Massachusetts is well-known for its advanced medical centers. Every day, doctors write thousands of prescriptions to help their patients recover from illness or have a better quality of life. While there are safeguards in place, the possibility of a prescription mistake remains. These errors can have heavy consequences for patients.

Wrong medication errors

Some of the worst results of medical malpractice come when a patient receives the
wrong medication
. If a doctor makes a mistake on a chart or a pharmacist confuses labels, a patient may be taking medicine for a condition they do not have.

Every drug acts on the body in a different way. Taking the wrong medicine can cause unexpected side effects while failing to treat the patient’s original condition. Even worse, a patient might receive a medicine to which they are allergic.

Some medicines may disrupt the effects of other prescriptions. Taking the wrong pill can make a secondary prescription less effective or cause a reaction.

Wrong dosage errors

Determining the right dose for a patient may depend on factors like size, age or gender. Receiving too small of a dose can cause the treatment to fail or extend a patient’s pain and suffering. A prescription that is too high may become toxic. Dosage errors are a serious form of medical malpractice.

Preparation and instruction errors

When a prescription arrives at the pharmacy, the staff must prepare it according to the doctor’s instructions. Often, this is as simple as counting out the right number of pills. However, some prescriptions require extra care such as preparing solutions or compounding ingredients. Mistakes at this stage can lower a medication’s efficacy.

Either at a hospital or at the pharmacist’s counter, the patient must learn how to properly administer the prescription. Some drugs are more effective if taken with food, while others require an empty stomach. A lack of instruction can result in a failed treatment.

Protecting yourself from medical mistakes

The medical industry works hard to maintain patient safety. However, you should also take responsibility for your care. Simple steps like checking labels and reading printed instructions might help you catch mistakes before they can cause problems.