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Can patients avoid medication errors?

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2021 | Medical Malpractice |

Many New Jersey residents depend on prescription medications to support their health. But problems can occur with patients who do not receive the exact medicine they need in the correct amounts. It is also important that patients discontinue these medicines once they are no longer necessary.

A mistake happens with the prescribing, preparation, or dispensing of prescription medication many thousands of times each year. There are times when this form of medical malpractice injures patients. The good news is there are ways to decrease the likelihood of medication errors.

Causes of medication errors

Medication errors can happen to anyone, but some identifiable factors make them more likely. Lack of communication is a factor in many mistakes involving medication. Patients need to inform their doctors of all medicines they presently take and any reactions to medications experienced in the past. Doctors should also communicate with other doctors that prescribe prescription medicine for the same patient.

Medication errors also become more likely when two medications sound alike. This risk increases when there is confusion regarding the abbreviations used to identify prescription medications. Doctors and patients can work together to mitigate this risk by checking and double-checking medication names.

Mistakes a patient can avoid

Several simple mistakes are possible for patients that can lead to terrible consequences. For example, patients in the past have gotten ear drops confused with eye drops because they didn’t detect the differences in the word “ophthalmic” that points to the eyes and the term “otic” used to designate the ears. Other common mistakes include chewing pills meant for swallowing, cutting pills meant to remain whole, and using kitchen spoons to measure medication doses.

Mistakes are always possible with prescription medications. But when this accident results from a doctor’s negligence, malpractice may be at play. Individuals who suffered due to medical malpractice may find it helpful to consult with an attorney.