What can cause medication errors?

On Behalf of | Mar 2, 2022 | Medical Malpractice |

North Carolina residents expect to get the best quality care from medical professionals. However, medication errors are a common form of medical malpractice that can result in serious harm to patients.

What are medication errors?

Medication errors are medical mistakes related to dispensing of drugs. When a person is diagnosed with an illness or has surgery, they are often prescribed medication to treat the condition. If the doctor or other healthcare professional makes some kind of error with the medication, dosage or anything else, it can lead to the patient suffering harm that would have otherwise been avoidable. That harm could include overdose, taking the wrong medication to treat the problem or not being prescribed medication that could treat the patient’s condition.

What can lead to medication errors?

There are different situations that can lead to medication errors occurring. Miscommunication ranks as one of the top reasons behind such errors. If there’s poor communication between a doctor and nurse, other medical staff and a patient, it can be disastrous.

When there’s inadequate flow of information, it can result in medication errors and patients being harmed. Sometimes, the problem stems from human error, such as failing to properly document specimens. Additionally, if a staff member doesn’t have the training necessary to provide the right level of care to a patient, it can lead to medication errors.

Unfortunately, even something as seemingly simple as the medication’s name can result in an error happening. Medications typically have a brand name, a generic name and a chemical compound name. In some cases, this can lead to confusion and the patient ending up being prescribed the wrong medication. If a doctor recommends that a patient take an over-the-counter drug to treat a medical condition and they misunderstand, they might end up taking the wrong medication.

Medication errors are considered medical malpractice when the wrong drug is prescribed or the medication is prescribed too late to be effective. If a medical professional’s negligence resulted in harm to the patient, the patient may be able to seek compensation.