How do medication errors occur and what are the risks?

On Behalf of | Oct 28, 2021 | Blog, Medication Errors

Residents of New Mexico expect to be able to seek medical care and get the right treatment. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case as medical mistakes can occur and result in harm. Medication errors can be devastating in spite of being preventable.

What are medication errors?

Medication errors are mistakes made by a doctor, pharmacist or other health care professional regarding the use of medications. If a mistake is made where a patient is prescribed the wrong type of medication or the wrong dose for treating a medical condition, it can result in serious adverse reactions and worse. For example, if a person is taking a medication for one condition but actually has a completely different condition, it could potentially harm them. The medication would be ineffective at treating the condition.

Sometimes, the patient is prescribed the wrong dose of a medication they need. Whether the dose is too low or too high, harm can occur as a result.

How do medication errors occur?

Medication errors can happen anywhere and to any person. It’s possible for a person to make an error themselves while taking their medication at home. However, a doctor, nurse, pharmacist or other health care professional can also make these errors.

Often, young children are at higher risk of medication errors due to their need for lower doses. Medication errors commonly happen due to poor communication between patients and doctors or even between doctors and other medical professionals. Sometimes, there might be confusion over medications that have similar names and something ends up prescribed erroneously.

How can these errors be prevented?

You’re better able to spot potential medication errors by keeping educated on your medications. Read as much as you can about the drug and ask your doctor questions. When you receive a new prescription, there should be paperwork that thoroughly details the proper way to use it and the dosage you’re supposed to take.

Knowing about potential side effects, medications or foods to avoid when taking the drug and what to do if you miss a dose or take too much is important. It can help to prevent medication errors.

Medication errors are more common than you might think. However, you can lower your risk when you’re diligent and educated.


FindLaw Network