These days, upwards of 6,000 prescription medications exist. Needless to say, it is expected for some mix-ups and errors to happen every now and then.
Unfortunately, these mistakes can sometimes lead to adverse or even life-threatening reactions. In such cases, it constitutes as medical malpractice.
Causes of medication errors
There are numerous ways in which medication errors may happen. The National Law Review puts the blame for many of these medication error incidents on something as simple as handwriting. In fact, 61 percent of all drug errors fall on poor handwriting. Fortunately, computer systems help every year to reduce this number.
Lacking a patient’s complete medical history can also lead to errors, along with misunderstanding all of the side effects of a medication. This can cause allergic reactions or worse.
Types of medication errors
As for the types of medication errors that may occur, they can happen anywhere from the distribution centers to the manufacturer to the pharmacist. Administration often causes the highest number of errors, i.e. the stage at which medication gets prescribed. Other common errors include receiving medicine in the wrong way, such as taking an oral medication through IV by accident.
Other errors often occur at the preparation stage, which can include someone preparing the wrong dosage strength. Taking too much or too little of prescribed medicine can end up worsening a condition or even causing new problems.
Even one seemingly small error could potentially cause an avalanche of problems. This is why medication errors fall under the umbrella of medical malpractice.