Prescription mistakes unfortunately occur at an alarming rate in the United States today. Prescription mistakes can result in serious injury, illness and even death. As one of the most common causes of medical malpractice, approximately 7,000 people lose their lives due to prescription mistakes annually. If you are among the over 100,000 people affected by prescription mistakes each year, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain, suffering and losses.
What is a Prescription Mistake?
A prescription mistake not only constitutes cases of wrong medication, but also other forms of negligence committed by doctors and medical professionals. Mistakes that may lead to prescription mistakes include prescribing too much of a medication, not considering the weight and age of a patient, and disregard of allergies or other complications that may affect the patient's health while taking the medication. Prescription mistakes can occur in pharmacies, hospitals, doctor's offices, nursing homes, and in the home and are one of the most easily traceable forms of medical malpractice.
Children at a High Risk
Children are particularly vulnerable to prescription mistakes because of their undeveloped chemical tolerance and immune systems . When prescribing any medication to a child, the weight and age must be taken into consideration to determine a safe dosage. A child's body lacks the ability to metabolize and tolerate toxic levels of medication, as an adult might be able to, putting them at a considerably higher risk for prescription mistakes. It is approximated that one in every 18 children who are prescribed a medication are victims of a prescription mistake.
The 5 Rs Vital to Prescribing
To avoid dangerous incidents of prescriptions mistakes, doctors abide by the "Five Rs" test when prescribing medications. The Five Rs represent a check system on each important aspect to be considered when choosing a medication for a particular patient:
- right medication
- right patient
- right dosage
- right route
- and right time
If any one of these steps is overlooked in the prescribing process, a prescription mistake may occur. Discussing these factors with your doctor or your child''s doctor, can help prevent prescription mistakes.
The Cost of Carelessness
In many cases, prescription mistakes are the result of pure carelessness. Illegible handwriting is a well-known and sometimes comical stereotype of doctors, however, this failure to write legibly on a prescription may result in serious injury or death if the pharmacist wrongly identifies the medication. Simple precautions performed by and required of doctors can prevent the many prescription mistakes occurring each year in the United States. It is estimated that 9 out of 10 prescription mistakes are preventable.
If you suspect that your injuries or illness was caused by a prescription mistake, you may wish to speak to an experienced and trusted physician to discuss your concerns regarding your medication.
Have you been a victim of a prescription mistake?
If so, you may be entitled to compensation. A qualified medical malpractice attorney can be vital in helping you handle the legal aspects of your prescription mistake case. Like many medical malpractice claims, prescription mistakes are subject to statute of limitations, which limits the time you have to pursue your legal claim. A qualified attorney can discuss the statute and other laws that apply to your case in greater detail. Contact us today to speak to a skilled legal professional, for a free evaluation of your case.
Read a CNN article about Prescription Mistakes here
Read a Washington Post article about Prescription Mistakes here