Medication errors committed by doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals are a major problem and the source of many lawsuits. Prescribing the wrong type of drug, ordering an improper dose, giving a patient a drug that he or she is allergic to, or combining medications that are incompatible, can lead to deadly consequences.
A report issued by the National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine said that medical errors comprise one of the nation's leading causes of death and injury.
In hospitals alone, the report said, research suggests that medical errors kill 44,000 to 98,000 people a year. Even using the lower estimate, more people die from medical mistakes each year than from highway accidents.
The report stated more than 7,000 Americans die each year as a result of "medication errors," which include the prescribing or dispensing of the wrong drugs, the panel said. By contrast, it said, about 6,000 Americans die each year from workplace injuries.
While medical errors may be more easily detected in hospitals, they afflict every health care setting: day-surgery and outpatient clinics, retail pharmacies, nursing homes, as well as home care.
Studies indicate that 57% of medication errors result in "adverse outcomes" (death or serious illness).
Statistics reveal that the average doctor commits four medication errors for every 1,000 prescriptions written. Some typical medication mistakes include failing to adjust dosages due to a decline in the patient's kidney or liver function, failing to inquire about the patient's history of drug allergies, transcribing the wrong drug name on the prescription pad, and calculating the wrong dose for the patient's physical and medical condition.
Most medication errors occur because doctors simply fail to educate themselves about the proper use of modern prescription drugs. Don't be a victim of a doctor's ignorance. If you have experienced serious health problems because of a doctor's negligence Contact us for legal help here.
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