Ways to Prevent Medication Errors

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Medication is intended to treat illness but an error can do more harm than good. While many mix-ups in the pharmacy, hospital, or doctor’s office may have relatively minor consequences, they also could be life threatening. A wrong dosage, an incorrect prescription, or an allergic reaction could cause a seizure, respiratory failure, paralysis, stroke, or other serious condition.

If you or a loved one has been negatively affected by a medication error, please contact our office to learn more about how our attorneys can help. Schochor, Federico and Staton, P.A. is an established medical malpractice law firm with offices located in Baltimore, Maryland and Washington D.C.

Taking control of your medications

When a doctor hands you a prescription or you are given medications in a hospital, be diligent and aware about what you are given.

Before any treatment occurs, be completely thorough when listing all the medications you take. Don’t just mention the prescription ones—list out all over the counter medicines, herbal supplements, vitamins, and dietary supplements. If two conflicting medications mix, you could face serious health-related consequences.

When prescribed medications at the doctor’s office:

  1. Bring your medications along. Unsure of the name of your medicine, supplement or their doses? Take your bottles to your physician’s office so he or she can review them.
  2. Check your prescription. Doctors have notoriously messy handwriting. Make sure the medication you receive from the pharmacist is the same one written on the original prescription. If you have any doubts, clarify with your physician and pharmacist.
  3. Check your dose. Even being off by a few milligrams can be disastrous. Make sure you take the right dose at the right time of day.
  4. Review side effects carefully. Your physician should fully detail what side effects (also known as “adverse events” or “adverse reactions”) to expect. Make sure you understand what to do if you experience a side effect. It may be as simple as taking an ibuprofen or it may require you to go to the hospital.
  5. Discuss these issues with the pharmacist. Confirm you are getting the correct medication for your condition.

When taking medicines in a hospital:

  1. Wear your patient identification bracelet. Make sure all health care professionals check your ID before administering medicines to ensure they are treating the correct patient.
  2. Make sure it’s the right medication. Particularly if you are switching medicines or getting a new medication, have the nurses or technicians ensure it’s the right one. Also, make sure the dosage is correct.
  3. Read discharge instructions. Discharge directions are your key to learn how to appropriately handle follow-up care. Have your nurse go over medication instructions carefully.

Additionally, if you are a caregiver, take charge. If the patient is very elderly or extremely sick, be a proactive caregiver to ensure the patient has the right medicines. Make sure they are adhering to their medication schedule and help them manage their side effects. When a health care professional makes a serious error, contact a medical malpractice attorney to learn more about your legal rights.

Speak with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer in Baltimore or Washington D.C. today

If you suspect medical negligence after receiving health care, contact the medical malpractice lawyers at Schochor, Federico and Staton, P.A. right away. We have filed more medical negligence cases than any other law firm in Maryland and have won more than $1 billion in settlements and verdicts. Call 1-888-234-0001 to schedule an appointment in either our Washington D.C. or Baltimore office.