Common Medication Errors to Watch Out For

One of the most common types of medical malpractice involves pharmacy errors. Here's what you need to know about understanding and preventing medication errors.

Being a patient is seldom easy. Whether you're admitted to a hospital for care, undergo surgery, or simply visit your family physician for a checkup, receiving healthcare can be a complicated process. Scheduling appointments, juggling scheduling, and recovering from operations can be time-consuming and exhausting. In some cases, your medical provider may prescribe you medication to assist you in dealing with your symptoms or health problems. While medication is prescribed to be beneficial, this isn't always the reality. In some cases, medication errors can actually be deadly. If you're about to receive medical care or you recently received a prescription from your doctor, there are a few things you need to watch out for.

Wrong Medication

While it's uncommon to receive the incorrect medication from a doctor, nurse, or pharmacist, this can happen. Sometimes hospital personnel may be overworked and this can lead to the incorrect dispensing of medication. When you receive a new medication at the hospital, ask the nurse or doctor to double-check your file to ensure this is the right medication. Always ask what medication they are giving you before you receive it. This will not only help prevent medical errors, but will also help you to stay informed in regards to your care. If you pick up your own medication at the pharmacy, always check the label on the bottle and match it to the label on the pharmacy bag or receipt. You may also want to consult with the pharmacist to double-check that you received the correct medication.

Incorrect Dosage

Another mistake that some patients face is receiving the wrong dosage of a medication. This can often be prevented by double checking with the provider before you leave the office. Ask the doctor how much of the medication they want you to take. Then when you receive your medication at the pharmacy, make sure that you've been given the same dosage. If you receive medication in the hospital, you can ask the nurse or medical assistant how much of the medication you are receiving. Never feel bad about asking questions in regards to your care. It's important to advocate for yourself. This includes asking questions when you receive new medication. While this can't prevent every pharmacy error or medical mistake, it can reduce your chances of being given the incorrect amount of a medication.

Incompatible Medication

Make sure you tell your doctor what medications you're currently taking. It's important to be completely honest about this. Some medications cannot be taken together. This even includes vitamins. In order to prescribe you the correct type of medication, it's imperative that your doctor know exactly what you're already taking and how much you take of each medication. You should also double-check with the pharmacist if you're taking more than one type of medication. Ask if the two medications can safely be taken together. They'll be able to advise you as to whether the treatment protocol is the correct one for you.

Have you been the victim of medical malpractice? It's time to speak with a medical malpractice attorney who can assist you in understanding what your options are for moving forward.