Causes of medication errors

Medication errors commonly fall under medical malpractice, which is a negligent omission or mistake. Figures show around 1.6 million medication errors occur annually. There are several reasons why medication errors in Rockville, Maryland may occur.

Causes of medication errors

A common cause of medication errors is poor handwriting, often caused by fatigue and the fast-paced medical environment. Though the illegibility of physicians’ handwriting is a stereotype, a small error, such as misreading names, could cause patient harm. The Institute of Medicines reports illegible prescriptions account for about 7,000 deaths annually and 15% of medication errors.

As with bad writing, poor communication between doctors and staff can also cause wrong dosages or the wrong medication getting dispensed. Similar names are reported to be the top cause of errors, often referred to as LASA, or look=alike-sound-alike drugs.

Emergency rooms are often sources of medication errors, with an error rate of 4% to 14% for adults and 39% for children. This is commonly caused by the hectic environment, high staff rotation, high number of patients, and lack of patient history.

Elements of a medical malpractice case

To count as medical malpractice, the health care professional must have owed the patient a duty of care. In a medication error lawsuit, this could be the doctor, the pharmacist, nurses, and the maker of the medicine.

The health care professional must breach the duty of care, which means they fell below the required basic standard of care. For example, if the doctor or manufacturer didn’t warn the patient of side effects, they breach the duty of care. The breach of duty must cause the patient actual harm, leading to pain and suffering and economic damages.

While patients may seek damages, not all medication errors are malpractice. Even if the doctor makes a mistake, the patient can’t collect without injury. Medical malpractice cases are often complicated by the fact that it can be difficult to figure out who the target of the lawsuit should be.

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