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How do medication errors occur?

When tragedies happen in the lives of Pottsville residents, one of the first questions often asked is why the incident happened. Individuals want to understand the circumstances that caused the incident to occur, and how similar incidents can be prevented from reoccurring in the future for others.

For instance, a previous post here discussed the staggering number of medical errors that happen to patients who are treated by medical professionals. These errors, such as medication mistakes, can have a profound impact on the lives of patients who are injured. Accordingly, it is important to examine how those medication errors happen, because they are preventable if properly addressed.

According to the Mayo Clinic, one of the most common causes of medication errors is poor communication between health care providers. A nurse might misinterpret a note from a doctor on the medical record, for instance, which can cause the nurse to administer an improper dosage of the medication to the patient. Doctors might also have communication problems during shift changes, which can lead to an improper course of treatment being given to the patient.

Another top cause of medication errors is poor communication between the provider and patient. There may be doctor error in understanding the patient’s symptoms, for instance, which could lead to overmedication or the wrong drug being prescribed.

Not every medical mistake can support a negligence action against the doctor or hospital. However, for those that do, individuals who are injured by doctor error should ensure they understand their legal rights, including their right to obtain compensation for their injuries. Medication mistakes are very serious, as evidenced by the devastating injuries they can cause. Patients who have been injured should respond in a serious manner as well.

Source: Mayo Clinic, “Medication errors: Cut your risk with these tips,” accessed on Nov. 14, 2015