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Prescription errors still happen despite precautions of patients

People in New Mexico who are taking prescription medications can do many things to prevent dangerous drug combinations, allergic reactions and dosage mistakes. However, individual patients are not the only parties involved. Errors can be introduced at many points, including the doctor's office, hospital or pharmacy.

The Food and Drug Administration publishes consumer health information to help people avoid medication errors. As soon as a person receives a prescription, the FDA advises that the patient learn the medication's name. This way he or she can avoid receiving the wrong medication at the pharmacy. The patient should also discuss how to take the medicine properly with the doctor and pharmacist.

Additionally, the FDA encourages patients to inform health providers of allergies and all medications being taken, including herbal and dietary supplements and over-the-counter medications. Keeping a list to show health professionals is a recommended practice. People should also let another person know where the list is so that the information can be found if the patient is incapacitated.

Even as a patient attempts to prevent medication errors, the other people in the health system sometimes make serious mistakes. Health professionals have duty of care to avoid a prescription error. When it happens, negligence may have occurred. A personal injury lawyer might be able to determine if the alleged medical malpractice is grounds for a lawsuit. In New Mexico up to $200,000 in damages may be payable by an individual health care provider, depending on the situation. An attorney can assess the facts of a situation and may find that a law suit is warranted.

Source: National Conference of State Legislatures, 'Medical Liability/Medical Malpractice Laws," Jan. 8, 2015

Source: FDA, "6 Tips to Avoid Medication Mistakes", January 07, 2015

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