We trust our medical professionals during times of great stress and distraction in our lives. We take for granted that our doctors and our pharmacists do not make mistakes, but the fact is hospitals make errors on one in five doses of medication administered to patients. Medication error is far too common in the United States-a full twenty percent of patients in hospitals in America are getting the wrong dose of medication.
There is no demographic that is immune to this phenomena. The following patients are physically and mentally most at risk in these cases.
1. Infants and children at risk of medicine error
- Infants and children,
- the elderly, and
- those with compromised immune systems
The effect of a wrong prescription or wrong dosage on children and infants can be much worse than an adult. When a pharmacy makes a mistake on a child's prescription an overdose can cause severe reactions and even death. When infants and children get too much medication for their little bodies to handle this can cause permanent disability and even death.
2. The elderly are at high risk for injury due to pharmacy error
Elderly patients get more of the wrong medications. The elderly are highly at risk for medication errors because they may have more conditions which they need medication for, so there is more chance for drug interaction problems. Some drugs intensify the effects of others, so that one dose may need to be much lower than what is administered. Not double checking in a hospital environment like this can mean overdose, under dose, and improper medication.
3. People with compromised immune systems at risk of pharmacy error
Many factors can affect a person's immune system and make it weak or unable to fight disease. Some people are born with rare diseases that compromise their immune system. Older people are generally less able to fight off an infection or sickness and any medication error could potentially harm them severely.
Detecting medication malpractice or pharmacy malpractice
Medication errors and other medication malpractice in a hospital setting is hard to detect. Medication errors occur at many levels of health care, often due to poor communication and techniques for double checking medication. Bad handwriting, poor communication between doctor, nurse and patient or caregiver, carelessness, and poor labeling practices by both pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies are all contributors to improper medication in the hospital. Human beings are going to make mistakes. It's a part of life and of being human, but twenty percent error in medication type and dosage is far too high. Getting the wrong dose of medication or getting the wrong medication altogether causes severe medical injury and deaths every year.
What to do if you have been affected by medication error
Pharmaceutical drugs are important to a person's health and recovery. If you or a loved one are in the hospital or in a nursing home setting, this type of malpractice should be the last thing you worry about. Unfortunately, pharmacy error is a risk to everyone. If you are the victim of a hospital medication error, or your loved one died as result of this, contact a medication error attorney. You may have a claim against the hospital, the dispensing pharmacy, or the doctor.
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