When you are sick or suffering the effects of an illness, disease, or chronic condition, medication is often the first line of treatment. While modern pharmaceuticals can do wonders to alleviate symptoms, reduce ill effects, and improve our prognosis, there are always risks and side effects to be aware of. Medication errors have risen to alarming heights, affecting hundreds of thousands of people and forming the basis for increasing numbers of medical malpractice claims each year. Regardless of whether or not you are currently being prescribed medication, it is important to be aware of the potential dangers, as well as the steps you can take to avoid potentially life-threatening errors from occurring.
Medication Errors and Adverse Drug Events
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that over 700,000 people visit hospital emergency rooms each year as the results of medication errors and adverse drug events, and more than 120,000 require hospitalization due to the severity of their condition. An adverse drug event may include anything from an allergic reaction to severe side effects to drug overdoses, and can often be the result of the following:
- Being prescribed the wrong medication from your doctor;
- Receiving the wrong dosage or amount of medication; or
- Taking a medication that interacts dangerously with other health conditions you have or with other medications you are taking.
The CDC states that currently more than 80 percent of the population is on some form of medication, and that more than 25 percent of those people take five medications or more a day. As more and more doctors depend on medications to treat patients, the CDC expects the number of medication errors and adverse events to increase as well.
Protect Yourself Against Medication Errors
In order to protect yourself against serious and potentially life threatening medical errors, the National Patient Safety Foundation recommends patients take a more active role in monitoring the medicines their doctors prescribe. Steps to protect yourself against adverse drug events include the following:
- Make sure your doctor is aware of all medications, including over the counter medicines, herbal remedies, and supplements, that you currently take or have taken in the past.
- Advise your doctor on any other medical providers you are currently seeing, and any treatments you receive.
- Always remind medical providers of any allergies you have and any chronic conditions you suffer from.
- Keep thorough records of medications you have taken.
- Use one pharmacy to fill all of your prescriptions, and make sure their records are correct.
- Read the instruction sheets provided by your pharmacist, and make sure your name matches that on the prescription.
Never hesitate to voice your questions or concerns to your doctor or pharmacist, and let your providers know immediately if you experience any ill effects after taking a new prescription.
Let Us Assist You With Your Case
If you or a loved one has suffered a medication error or adverse drug event, contact our experienced Florida medical malpractice attorneys. At Hogan Frick, we understand the serious complications that can arise from these types of errors, and can assist you in holding negligent medical providers accountable.