According to a Washington Post report, 2006 statistics reveal that 1.5 million patients in the United States are injured, sickened, or killed each year due to avoidable “medication errors.” Medication errors, as defined by the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error and Reporting, are “any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the health care professional, patient, or consumer.” This can include anything from product labeling or packaging, dispensing, prescribing, education, administering, or monitoring and use.
A U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) study that evaluated reports of fatal medication errors from 1993 to 1998 found that the most common prescription/medication error was related to administering an improper dose of medicine. Overall, this accounted for 41 percent of fatal medication errors. Accounting for 16 percent of the fatal medication errors for these years was either prescribing the patient the wrong drug or using the wrong route of administration. Unfortunately, older persons may be at a greater risk for medication errors because they may take multiple medicines; almost half of patients in this study who suffered from a fatal medication error were over the age of 60.
Empowering yourself as a patient and knowing how to prevent a dangerous prescription error is imperative to protecting your health and well-being, but it may not prevent a doctor from making a negligent mistake that can endanger a patient’s life. If you have become ill or lost a loved one due to a preventable prescription error, the accident attorneys in Bowie at Alpert Schreyer can help. Please call (866) 444-6363 for a free case evaluation and review of your case.