When people think of “medical malpractice,” they typically picture a surgeon who operates on the wrong body part or a doctor who fails to notice a patient’s heart attack. However, a significant portion of medical malpractice cases involve medication mistakes.
It’s estimated that between 7,000 and 9,000 people die every year because of medication mistakes, and countless others are injured. The problem may even be getting worse. Recently staff members in some of the nation’s biggest pharmacies have begun protesting what they say are conditions that put patients are great risk.
4 common pharmacy mistakes
Pharmacies have procedures in place that are supposed to reduce the chances that these things will happen, but they’re not infallible. Some of the most common errors include:
- Right drug, wrong dose: If a pharmacist misreads the dosage on a prescription, the patient can end up with too little of a drug to be effective – or a dose that’s far too strong for their body to tolerate.
- Wrong drug, right dose: All kinds of drugs look similar or have names that sound similar. Pharmacists constantly have to be careful that they don’t inadvertently mix one drug up with another.
- Incorrect instructions: The wrong label on a medication or a misinterpretation of the doctor’s instructions can prove incredibly dangerous for a patient.
- Overlooked complications: Pharmacists are expected to make sure that the medications they dispense aren’t contraindicated by a patient’s known allergies or other medications.
Everybody can make mistakes, but a pharmacist’s mistakes can cause terrible harm – or kill. If you’ve been injured or a loved one was killed by a medication mistake, find out more about your legal options.