Managing medications isn’t always easy, but you would expect that medical professionals are better at it than you are as a patient. It is true that some people do make mistakes while administering their own prescription drugs. However, there are also thousands of medical mistakes that occur not because of a patient but because of a medical professional.
Medication mistakes in a professional setting can take multiple forms. It could be a nurse so busy filling out paperwork as they make their rounds that they give a patient the wrong medication. It could be a pharmacy technician or pharmacist making a mistake when they fill a prescription or dilute medication for intravenous delivery. It could even be a doctor failing to note that the drug they intend to prescribe has an interaction with a prescription you already take.
Medication mistakes come in many forms, and they are common enough that they occur every day across the country.
Thousands of people report medication mistakes every year
Every year, the Food and Drug Administration receives more than 100,000 reports of medication errors with consequences for the patients involved. These cases likely only represent a fraction of all medication errors, as patients and their family members often don’t even know what happened.
There are many reasons for medication errors to go unreported. Sometimes, the hospital’s staff doesn’t even know that they made a mistake, so no one looks into the issue. Other times, a medication error could have catastrophically negative consequences that get attributed to something else, like a sudden progression of their condition or a failure to respond to treatment when they haven’t received the right medication.
Even when people don’t know that they happened, medication errors can have catastrophic results ranging from death due to allergic reactions to the failure of necessary treatment.
How should you respond to a medication error?
All too often, patients feel like they have no recourse when a medical care provider fails in their duty. Truthfully, you have insurance protections and legal rights.
Every doctor carries medical malpractice insurance that protects them from the liability of mistakes that they make. The same is true for hospitals, meaning that the person who made the mistake doesn’t have to be a physician for malpractice insurance to possibly protect you.
Additionally, the law does allow people to seek compensation when they can show a verifiable financial impact from a medical mistake. A medical malpractice lawsuit could help you recover lost wages and the cost of correcting a medical mistake made by a professional.