What are Medication Errors?
According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the federal agency responsible for ensuring the safety and effectiveness of medicines in the United States, medication errors are events that can result in harm to a patient or the improper use of a medication, while consumers, health care professionals, or patients are in control of the medication.
Under the FDA’s definition, medication errors may be related to any of the following activities related to medications:
- Order communication;
- Product labeling, packaging, and nomenclature; or
Types of Medication Errors
The FDA approves a medication for medical treatment of certain medical conditions, if the medication’s manufacturer demonstrates to the FDA that the medication is safe and effective in treating those conditions. The majority of medications and prescriptions and administration of those medications are indeed safe. However, sometimes things go wrong, either with the manufacture of the medication itself or with the prescribing and dispensing of the medication. The following list mentions some of the kinds of medication errors:
- Allergic reactions to a medication;
- Defective medications;
- Doctor medication mistakes, such as prescribing the wrong medication to a patient;
- Hospital medication mistakes, such as dispensing the wrong medication or dosage of a medication to a patient;
- Incorrect dosage of a drug was prescribed;
- Incorrect medication instructions were given to a patient by a doctor, hospital, nurse, or pharmacy;
- Incorrect route of administration of medication, such as giving a medication orally instead of injecting it;
- Mail order pharmacy malpractice;
- Pharmacy dispensing errors;
- Pharmacy negligence; or
- The wrong drug was prescribed.
Medication Error Causes
There are many potential causes of medication errors. However, the most common causes of medication errors include:
- Poor communication among health care providers;
- Poor communication between health care providers and their patients;
- Medication names and medical abbreviations that sound alike;
- Distraction and inattentiveness;
- Illegible prescriptions; and
- Confusing directions about how to use medications.
Who may be held liable for medication errors?
Depending on the circumstances of the injury, the following persons may be held liable for medication errors:
- Drug distributors;
- Drug manufacturers;
- Pharmacists; or
Filing a Lawsuit
Each case is different. However, in general, under Florida law, a patient may file a lawsuit for a medication error if all of the following statements are true:
- A medication error occurred;
- The medication error injured the patient; and
- The medication error was the result of the negligence of a medical professional, such as a doctor, hospital, or pharmacy.
Contact a Lawyer Today
If you have been injured by a medication error, or believe you may have been, please seek appropriate medical treatment immediately. Then please contact us for a free and confidential consultation about your case. You may contact us online or phone us at 305-372-0123 (local) or (866) 769-0123 (toll-free) to arrange your consultation. For no charge, you can tell us about your experience and learn how the legal system may handle your case. We look forward to hearing from you and to working with you on your case.