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Improving Healthcare Requires Identifying the Most Common Medication Errors

Perhaps no single form of medical error occurs more frequently than medication mistakes. Virtually everyone takes some form of medication on a daily or weekly basis, from over-the-counter pills to more potent prescriptions from hospital professionals. The amount of medication used by individuals across the country every day means that problems with the use of these drugs occur with surprising frequency.

Medicine Net News discussed the problem last week and the need for improvements. The National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention reported that nearly 1.3 million people are injured in the United States every year because of medication errors. That figure was reached based upon the definition of these mistakes as “any preventable event which may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the health care professional, patients, or consumer.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is also involved in the problem, collecting information about the scope and type of medication errors. The FDA explained how the most common form a fatal medication mistake involves the administration of an improper dosage. For example, there have been several cases over the past few months of infants killed in hospitals when their medical providers administered far too large a dose for their small bodies.

In addition, the elderly are often the most at risk of these problems. The FDA explained how almost half of all deadly medication errors occurred in people over the age of 60. This is likely the case because of the amount of drugs that senior citizens take, often on a daily basis.

Our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys at Levin & Perconti know the consequences of mediation errors. Patients rightful rely on the decisions made by their doctors about what type of medication to take, how much, and when. If those doctors and the nurses administering the drugs make mistakes that harm or even kill the patient, than the legal system must provide a forum for fair redress and accountability.

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