When you go to the hospital, you trust that they will prescribe and administer medicine correctly. Mixing up medications, using the wrong dosage, and other mistakes could mean life and death.
Errors do happen though, and more often than you might think.
A 2006 Institute of Medicine report says that hospital patients experience an average of one or more medication errors each day, which can include anything from getting medicated an hour late to fatal drug interactions. 380,000-450,000 preventable adverse drug events (ADEs) occur in hospitals every year.
Even worse, approx. 800,000 preventable ADEs occur every year in long-term care facilities.
None of those statistics include errors of omission – or failures to prescribe needed medication. Counting omissions, at least 1.5 million preventable ADEs occur in the United States every year.
And these ADEs caused by improper medication aren’t just mild headaches: as many as 100,000 total deaths in the US occur because of prescription errors in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and pharmacies.
The report offers some ideas for how to prevent this incredibly common problem. Researchers recommend giving patients more of an active role in their health care so that they can be more informed and responsible.
They also recommend using e-prescriptions and bar codes to avoid errors. Modern software prevents handwriting confusion and points out potential dangers in mixing certain medications. Researchers also advise drug companies and federal agencies to help prevent mistakes by avoiding drug labels and names that sound and look a lot like others.
If you have experienced adverse reactions to a medication error, you may be entitled to compensation. Our personal injury attorneys have experience with medical malpractice and dangerous drugs and can investigate your case.
Contact us to talk for free about your situation.