There are many stages of medical care in which medication errors can occur, including writing the wrong prescription or being given the wrong medication when the prescription is right. They can also happen in many different situations, such as in your doctor’s office, urgent care facility, ER, hospital, or pharmacy. Prescription errors are also able to occur in the patient’s home when the home health aids provide the wrong medication. A prescription can be defined as the written order that details which medication should be given to whom, the dosage, way of ingestion, frequency, and length of time taken. An error in prescription is a failure in the writing of a prescription which ends up in a wrong instruction regarding one or more of the normal features of a prescription. The prescription in question should also have the identity of the patient in question, the drug being prescribed, the dose, and the route, timing, frequency, and duration of administration.
Now that the definition of a medication error has been discussed above, we can look at a prescribing fault as a failure in the process of prescribing that results in, or has the potential to result in, harm to the patient.
Some of the largest issues when it comes to medication errors are prescribing faults and prescription errors. Prescribing faults and prescription errors constitute major problems in the safety and quality of healthcare, and even though these errors are rarely fatal they can have a serious impact on both the patient’s safety and the quality of healthcare provided. A “clinically meaningful prescribing error” is defined by an article published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology as occurring when “there is an unintentional significant reduction in the probability of treatment being timely and effective or increase in the risk of harm when compared with generally accepted practice. While this definition focuses on the outcome of the error, it does not take into account the various mistakes that can happen throughout the entire process of prescribing, without any results being present.
Prescription errors are able to encompass those who are related to the act of writing a prescription, whereas prescribing faults encompass all of the processes of prescribing irrationally, prescribing inappropriately, underprescribing, overprescribing, and ineffective prescribing- all arising from erroneous judgement or decisions that concern treatment or treatment monitoring. Medication errors are, unfortunately, extremely common situations and can lead to consequences that deeply impact the patient’s life. This statement is especially true when the patient is already in compromised health and is given the incorrect medication, a situation that can sometimes result in permanent injury or death. While the majority of such cases do not reach the level of criminal actions, the civil process is in place in order to compensate those who are victims of prescription errors due to the damages bestowed from negligence. Typically speaking these damages include:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future lost wages
- Compensation for pain and suffering
- Future damages that could occur in the life of the patient in question.
If you or a loved one have had to deal with a case regarding prescription drug error, Pam Olsen, P.A. is a top attorney advocating for the rights of her clients. Call the law offices of Pam Olsen, P.A. at Olsen Law Firm for an experienced prescription drug error attorney today!