With over 6,000 prescriptions available, an occasional medical error can be expected. However, a mistake with a prescription can cause adverse reactions, which could cross into medical malpractice. There are several types of medication errors a patient in Albuquerque, New Mexico, may experience.
Types of medication errors
Medication errors are adverse events that can occur anywhere along the distribution line from prescribing to the pharmacy and the manufacturer. The most common type of error is in administration, or the patient receives the wrong drugs other than the one prescribed. Sometimes, the patient receives the medicine in the wrong way, such as by mouth instead of by IV.
Some errors occur at the preparation stage, which may mean the preparer used the wrong formula strength. If patients are given too little or too much of a medicine or the wrong medicine, it could worsen their condition. Another common drug error involves taking the medicine outside of the prescheduled time frame, which commonly occurs among elderly patients.
Causes of medication errors
Illegible handwriting accounts for 61% of drug errors, although computer systems have helped reduce them. However, a misread decimal point or name could cause the patient to get the wrong dosage, leading to poor outcomes.
Another cause of prescription drug error is a lack of understanding about how a drug works and possible allergies. The doctor may not have complete patient history to know what a patient is allergic to, which is common in emergency settings. Staff who are overworked and tired are at risk of making errors, and distractions can make the problem worse.
Proving medical malpractice requires the patient to have suffered harm, and the doctor breached their duty of care. Some doctors may be willing to settle malpractice cases out of court to avoid lengthy trials and legal fees.