Each year, according to the Institute of Medicine, more than 1.5 million people in the United States get sick, injured, or killed as a result of medication errors—many of which are preventable. In addition to the cost to human lives, the additional cost of medication errors has been conservatively estimated at $3.5 billion annually, not even factoring in the cost of lost wages and decreased productivity.
Medication errors generally fall into one of three categories:
Prescribing. Many medication mistakes occur because the prescribing physician does not have complete patient information: other medications being taken, including over-the-counter; drug and food (such as egg) allergies; laboratory test results; past hospitalizations; other doctors that are treating the patient; and all existing physical conditions. Patients must have their complete medical history and share it with their doctor.
Dispensing. Dispensing errors occur when pharmacists cannot read the writing on the scrip, medications have a name or appearance similar to another, more than one patient getting a prescription filled at the pharmacy has the same name, or language barriers prevent clear communication.
Usage. Patients themselves may make the error if they do not understand
- which medications to take;
- when the medication is to be taken;
- what the medication is supposed to treat;
- the importance of the medication;
- which medications interact with others; or
- how to use the medication.
If someone you love has been injured because of a medication injury in Kentucky, contact Gray and White Law. Call us at 502-210-8942 or toll free at 888-450-4456 to set up a FREE, no-obligation consultation with one of our Louisville medical malpractice attorneys.