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The prevalence of medication errors in health care

| Mar 5, 2021 | Medical Malpractice

Texas residents often think of the bad things possible during surgery when they hear about medical malpractice. However, surgical errors represent only one of several ways that medical malpractice can occur. Medication errors represent a common form of medication malpractice that affects both child and adult patients.

Medication errors defined

Medication errors happen when an action by a medical professional delivers inappropriate or harmful medications to a patient. These preventable events constitute medical malpractice and can originate at multiple levels of the medication delivery system. Medication errors can occur when writing prescriptions, entering prescription data into a computer system, preparing medicine and ingesting medication.

Extent of the problem

The United States Food and Drug Administration receives more than 100,000 complaints annually regarding potential medication errors. The FDA compiles available information pertinent to each complaint and categorizes the complaints according to the type of alleged error that took place. The administration also provides details regarding the potential problems caused by medication errors, including:

  • Death
  • Serious illness
  • Birth defects
  • Disability
  • Long-term hospitalization

Reduction methods

The FDA involves itself with a constant effort to minimize medication errors. The FDA conducts a thorough review of the name, packaging and labeling for each medicine before approving a medication for patient use.

The FDA continues to monitor and evaluate all error reports received for each drug approved. The administration may instruct drug makers to alter names, packaging and labels if it determines that any of these factors contributed to medication errors.

Patients trust the opinion of medical professionals with their health and well-being. A breach of this trust can result in several adverse consequences for the patient. Individuals harmed by medication errors may be better able to remedy the situation by speaking with an attorney about their legal options.