According to a report from the Institute of Medicine, 1.5 million people are injured by medication errors in this country every year. As of the 2006 report, those errors cost Americans $3.5 billion in wages, lost productivity and other medical expenses.
Officials with the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority have been able to attribute precisely 889 medicinal errors between January 1 and June 30 of 2016 to some glitch in its health care-related information technology (HIT) system, a recent report shows. Among the three most common errors made by the HIT systems were a failure to record dosages, providing an extra dose and providing patients with the wrong dose.
When your pharmacist makes a mistake it can be deadly -- there's a chance that the wrong medication could have no harmful effect on you at all -- but there's a much bigger chance that the wrong medication could interact badly with medications you're already taking, cause you a medical crisis or give you an allergic reaction.
When you go to the hospital or to a doctor's office, you expect the staff there to take your health seriously. If you have an allergy, you likely explain this each time you come in and even have it listed in the medical notes each provider looks at. If your provider offers you a prescription containing chemicals you're allergic to, there's a real threat that you could be made very sick or even die, depending on the severity of your reaction.
Imagine calling in for a refill of your medication, only to find out that the pharmacy had given you the wrong one. Suddenly, all the odd side effects, dizziness, headaches and other symptoms make perfect sense. What can you do? You may need medical treatment to correct injuries suffered from the medication or even receive other medications to counteract what you've taken. If that's the case, you could be entitled to compensation to cover the cost of those treatments.
Any doctor who is willing to be honest and personally vulnerable will admit that there are many ways that treatment can take an ugly turn due to human error. While the medical community has made amazing advances in the last several decades, medical personnel are still only people, and people inevitably make mistakes.
Medical errors made during pregnancy can result in serious complications or problems with birthing or the child him or herself. While it's nearly impossible to know the true number of medication and medical errors made during pregnancies, there is no denying the impact those errors can have.
Prescription mistakes can be some of the most devastating; sometimes patients don't realize that they've taken the wrong dosage or that the pills they received weren't the right medication at all. Prescription mistakes can happen when a doctor prescribes the wrong drug or when a pharmacist fills the wrong one.
When you have to take your child to the hospital, the last thing that you want to have happen is for your child to suffer at the expense of a doctor's error. Children are vulnerable to mistakes because they can't advocate for themselves. Problems like giving a child too much of a medication or forgetting to give a child a dose is likely to go missed by a child, because they don't understand what they should be receiving and expect the doctor or nurse to do the job correctly. For parents, this can mean trying to oversee treatment plans that they don't really understand that well.
If you've ever taken a prescription medication and wondered if it was the right one, you're one of many patients who has done the same. Prescription mistakes do happen, whether it's because of a doctor prescribing the wrong medication or the wrong medication being filled by pharmacists.