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How common are medication errors in the United States

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And what can be done to prevent them? Read on to learn more.

According to the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention, medication errors are among the most common types of medical errors. It's estimated that these errors occur in 1 out of every ten prescriptions filled. What are some of the reasons why medication errors happen? And what can be done to prevent them? Read on to learn more.

What are medication errors, and why do they occur
Medication errors are any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm. In contrast, the medication is controlled by the healthcare professional, patient, or consumer. They can include prescribing the wrong drug, administering a prescription at the wrong dose or frequency, failing to check for potentially harmful drug interactions, and many other errors.

Several factors can contribute to medication errors, including poor communication between healthcare providers, illegible handwriting on prescriptions, confusion over similar-sounding drug names, and fatigue. In some cases, pharmacists may make errors when dispensing medications or patients when taking them.

What should you do after a medical malpractice
If you or a loved one has experienced a medical error, it's essential to speak with your healthcare provider and the staff at the hospital immediately. You may also want to consult medication errors attorneys to determine if legal action could be taken against those responsible for your injury. It's crucial to gather the proper evidence against malpractice. This may include medical records, witness statements, and any other documentation related to the error.

The attorney will also advise you on your legal rights and options and help guide you through taking legal action. One of the primary factors that a lawyer will consider when determining the value of your medical malpractice lawsuit is the extent and severity of any injuries or damages you have experienced due to the error.

Other important considerations include the degree of negligence or wrongdoing on healthcare providers and any financial losses or costs that may have been incurred. An experienced medical malpractice attorney will be able to fully assess the value of your case and fight for the maximum compensation possible.

The National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention estimates that medication errors cost the United States healthcare system $21.3 billion. This estimate includes the value of lives lost, injuries suffered, and money spent on corrective actions. In addition, they also calculate the value of your lawsuit.

What are the medication errors statistics by drug type
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), here are some common types of medications involved in errors and the percentage of total reported medication errors for each:

  • Antibiotics: 17%
  • Cardiovascular drugs: 13%
  • Psychotherapeutic drugs: 12%
  • Insulin and antidiabetic agents: 11%
  • Analgesics: 8%

Classification of common medical errors in the U.S.
There are several different classification systems used to describe medical errors. One of the most commonly used categorization systems is the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention's classification system, which identifies medication errors as type A (system-related), type B (care-provider related), or type C (patient-related).

Some examples of type A medication errors include errors made during the manufacturing or packaging of medication and errors in drug labels or warnings. Type B medication errors are those made by healthcare providers, such as prescribing the wrong drug or administering a prescription at the wrong dose. Type C medication errors are those made by patients, such as taking medication at the wrong time or in the wrong way.

Photo by Jair Lázaro on Unsplash

What are the consequences of medication errors
While some medication errors may cause only minor inconvenience or discomfort for patients, others can have more severe consequences. Potential harm from a medication error can range from no effect to permanent disability and death. According to a Johns Hopkins study, misdiagnosis claims more than 250,000 people in the U.S.

Despite these sobering statistics, some steps can help prevent medication errors. One crucial step is for healthcare providers and patients to take an active role in understanding the risks associated with medications and how to avoid mistakes.

Other strategies include:

  • Use a patient medication information sheet or pill organizer.
  • Requesting double-checks on essential prescriptions.
  • Reporting suspected medication errors to healthcare providers.

Medication errors are a severe problem in the United States, causing harm to patients and costing billions of dollars each year. While some medication errors may be minor, others can cause severe injury or death. If a medication error has harmed you or a loved one, it's essential to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney to determine if you have a case.


Main photo by Piron Guillaume on Unsplash

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