Medical Malpractice: 8 Common Medication Errors and Causes

Patients harmed by medication errors by a medical professional fall into the legal category of medical malpractice. Medical malpractice requires proof that the healthcare professional was negligent or caused harm through incompetence. At Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. we can help you determine if you have a medical malpractice case.

Here are eight common medication errors and their causes:

1. Illegible instructions can mean incorrect medications

An incorrect medication order can have serious effects, and the help of a medical malpractice lawyer might be needed to deal with them. A physician will make the order for any medication. If written in a hurry, the instructions may be incorrect.

The instructions are far more likely to be typed than written, meaning that poor penmanship is unlikely to be the problem. However, the physician may make a mistake while typing.

2. A medical malpractice lawyer can help if you were given the wrong dose

The dose of medication is vital to its efficacy. Without the correct dose as prescribed, the medication might not have its intended effect. If you misunderstand your prescription, you might even overdose on your medication.

Incorrect doses could be due to a miscommunication, or through a poorly written prescription or order. In Michigan, a medical attorney can help you determine where the fault lies in such a case.

3. Incorrectly measured medication can harm patients

The measurement of medication is extremely important. Even if the dose is written clearly, the patient should understand how much each dose is. Confusing symbols, measurements, and decimal points can all lead to mistakes that may need the assistance of a medical malpractice lawyer.

The dose itself may also have been calculated incorrectly. If the patient’s age, size, or other health issues are not accounted for, the dose amount might be too high or too low.

4. Dose duration is important for patient health

The period for which you need to take the medication should be made clear to you. This includes the exact quantity of medication you have been given, such as pills, as well as the number of doses this amounts to.

Without these instructions, a patient can take the medication for too long or too short a time. He or she might also go too long without returning for a follow up appointment.

Misuse of medical abbreviations might need a medical malpractice lawyer

5. Misuse of medical abbreviations might need a medical malpractice lawyer

Medical abbreviations are often used by physicians as a time saving measure, as a few letters can represent a medical condition or professional comment.

However, these abbreviations can easily be misunderstood. When it comes to a medication order, an incorrect or misread abbreviation could have serious consequences for the patient.

6. A medical malpractice lawyer can help if you were prescribed an unavailable medication

If your physician has been working overseas, he or she might order a medication that is not available in the U.S. This can cause confusion, particularly if a nurse or pharmacist attempts to substitute the medication with one, they deem to be similar.

Problems with unavailable medications should be addressed by the physician, and he or she should write a new order for one that is available. Otherwise, mistakes can be made. In Michigan, you have the right to claim compensation if such an error leads to injury.

7. Mixing up medications might mean a medical malpractice lawyer

Any medical issue could have a wide number of medications available for it. Some will have very similar names and could be easily mistaken for one another. In addition to this, some medicines have different uses and may be prescribed for various reasons.

This can easily lead to confusion, including mistaken dose or administration instructions. In Michigan, determining whether there was a mix up might require the expertise of malpractice lawyers who are familiar with these problems.

8. A medical malpractice lawyer can address patient monitoring issues

If a physician prescribes medication for a serious condition that requires monitoring, the prescription should reflect this. The medication should be limited, requiring the patient to return for an appointment before an additional prescription is given.

In this way, the physician can monitor the condition and adjust the next dose if necessary. Given an extended prescription might leave the patient without the regular care he or she needs.

For a free consultation with Eileen Kroll, a registered nurse and attorney, call our firm toll free at 1-866-MICH LAW (1-866-642-4529). No fee is charged unless a recovery is made.

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Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C.

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15510 Farmington Road
Livonia, MI 48154

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Flint, MI 48502