When you are sick or injured, you may seek the help of a doctor or physician and trust in their medical judgment as they evaluate and treat you. It is reasonable to do that as doctors, physicians, and others in the medical field are trained and licensed to practice in their specialty, indicating that they have the knowledge and skill necessary to help you when you are hurt. But unfortunately, not all encounters in the medical field end positively as medical malpractice happens in the Phoenix area every week, threatening the lives of those who only sought to get well.
While some forms of medical malpractice are widely publicized and understood, others are not openly discussed or not well understood, making them even more dangerous to patients. An example of a less understood form of medical malpractice is mistakes made with medications or drugs, whether they are made by doctors, nurses, or even pharmacists. Since 1992, the Food and Drug Administration has received more than 30,000 reports related to medical errors in the United States but experts agree that the number of mistakes is much larger than this. Often, patients are unaware or remain uninformed about mistakes which means that they do not have the ability to report them or to investigate any potential harm that may have been done.
Medication errors may happen if a mix up with medicine happens and a patient is given the wrong drug. Often this happens with drugs that have similar sounding names or names that are spelled similarly, which is why the FDA monitors and controls the proposed names for new medications. In other instances, an error happens when the proper drug is administered but it is given in the wrong amount or quantity. Medications that are very safe in small amounts may be lethal in larger doses, or drugs that are beneficial and even life-saving in large doses may be entirely ineffective in small doses which means that the amount of a drug given is of critical importance. And yet in other cases, a drug may be mislabeled at a pharmacy, may be expired or recalled, or may be used intentionally even though there is no medical reason for its use.
Patients should be able to rely upon medical professionals to care for them and to provide them with the medication they need but unfortunately, they continue to be victimized by mistakes each year. To keep yourself as safe as possible, make sure you are informed about what medications you should be taking so that you can help reduce the risk that you will be injured by a drug error. First, know whether you are at a particularly high risk for an error, and if so, exercise significant caution when you are given a new medication. Statistically, more than half of drug errors affect individuals over the age of 60, and people who are overweight may be at risk for dosing errors. Further, those with comorbidities, allergies, or sensitivities to medication should monitor their personal medications at all times.
Further, if you are prescribed a new drug, make sure you understand the name of the drug and its intended use. If you simply fill a prescription without this knowledge, it will increase the risk that you will not notice if you are given the wrong drug or it can increase your odds of a negative side effect if you do not know of its purpose. Understand directions related to the medication’s use and if you have questions, always ask your physician or a pharmacist. Though many drug accidents can be blamed on medical professionals, some happen by patients at home when they take the wrong drugs or use medications in the wrong amount because they did not know or did not understand the proper dosage.
Finally, if you suspect a medication error, seek immediate help. Often, the harm done from a drug switch or an improper dosage can be addressed and treated medically if help is sought right away.
If you have been the victim of a medication error in the Phoenix area or if someone you love was injured or killed by a drug mistake, contact the personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. for a case consultation. There is no cost to you and no obligation on your part, and to make it convenient for you, we have a lawyer available 24/7 to take your call. You can reach us toll free at (855) PHX-LAWYER or locally at (602) 819-5191, and if we represent you in your case, we will never charge you a fee unless we make a recovery on your behalf.
Prior Blog Entry:
Trucking Accident Deaths are Increasing in America, Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, published February 2, 2016.