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Medication Errors

What Are Medication Errors ?

Medication errors are seemingly preventable errors/events in the treatment process that causes harm to or potentially leads to the harm of a patient. Though preventable, these errors are known to affect hundreds of millions of patients globally, each year.

Medication errors can take place either under the care of your General Practitioner or a hospital. They generally happen if:

  • Your doctor has written out an inappropriate or wrong prescription,
  • Your doctor has administered the wrong drug before a procedure,
  • Your doctor has administered a wrong dose, wrong frequency or wrong route of drug administration,
  • Your doctor has failed to alter therapy when condition necessitate he does,
  • A pharmacy has dispensed the wrong drug or wrong formulation.

Prescription/medication errors are very serious. If you have been prescribed the wrong medication it could make your condition worse. Also, you may suffer side-effects which you were not made aware of.

Medication errors can happen to adults and children. However, more care is needed with children. Pharmacists and medical professionals must consider a child’s weight and age before prescribing drugs but unfortunately this is not always the case.

Knowledge-based errors

Simply put are errors that occur as a result of lack of knowledge. This is a common error in an instance where a health care provider is not well informed about drugs being prescribed or the patient to whom the drug is being prescribed to. Take for instance, a patient given a particular prescription without establishing whether or not the patient is allergic to such drugs.

Rule-based errors – These errors are typical when healthcare providers apply bad rules to medication and/or misapply appropriate rules. For example, giving an injection to a patient in the wrong route.

Action-based errors – These are otherwise known as slips. They occur as a result of mistaken actions or slips in attention. For example picking a bottle of drug from the pharmacy shelf, different from what you intended to pick.

Memory-based errors – These errors occur when a General practitioner, nurse or pharmacist’s memory fails them. For example when they are aware of patients condition but totally forget and prescribe a drug that may result in cases like allergic reactions or worse.

How do medication errors happen?

Medication errors can happen to anyone at anytime and in any place. This may include your own home and at the doctor’s office, hospital, pharmacy and senior living facility.

And when it comes to medication errors kids are especially at high risk. This is because they typically need different drug doses than adults and when their doses are incorrectly administered, it may lead to life-changing events.

Knowing what you’re up against can help you play it safe. The most common causes of medication errors are:

  • Poor communication between your doctors
  • Poor communication between you and your doctors
  • Drug names that sound alike and medications that look alike
  • Medical abbreviations
  • Wrong drug label

Are Medication Errors Common ?

Medication errors in the UK are becoming increasingly common. In fact, Research has shown that more than 237 million medication errors are made all along the care process every year in England, contributing to the loss of an estimated 1700 lives annually.

As we continue to witness medical advances and breakthroughs in medicine, the number of medication options available to medical professionals increases. Quite unfortunately, this creates room for more mistakes being made. Take for instance, if a patient is prescribed a large amount of medication, the chances of a mistake increase.

Also, as the number of medication options increase, the level of knowledge of medical professionals may decrease. It is obvious that if there are more options for a doctor to remember/know about, there is a higher chance a mistake may be made.

What Are The Effects of Medication Errors ?

Medication / prescription errors can leave patients with short term health injuries or can have long term consequences such as a permanent disability or even death.

When a medication error is identified, it is crucial that you act fast. Try to attend a local health provider for advice as soon as possible. The effect of medication errors can be very serious but if you take quick action the effects might be reduced.

Classification of Medication Errors

Medication errors are quite broad in scope. Classifying them gives a clearer description and understanding of the concept. While there are different approaches to classifying medication errors, here, we classify medication errors invoking psychological theory under the following categories:

  • Knowledge-based errors
  • Rule-based errors
  • Action-based errors
  • Memory based errors

Prescribing errors - what are they?

As the name implies, these are errors that occur as a result of failure to prescribe correctly or prescribing wrongly. These errors occur along the way of inappropriate prescribing, ineffective prescribing, underprescribing, overprescribing and wrong written prescription.

Inappropriate prescribing

Inappropriate prescribing could lead to very daring consequences in a patients life including adverse drug reaction (ADR). Simply put, when inappropriate prescriptions are made, the risks outweighs the benefits of the medication. Doctors who lack proper understanding of the relation between the pathophysiology of patients problem and the mechanism of action of drug are most likely to commit these prescribing faults.

Ineffective prescribing

Ineffective prescribing occurs when a doctor prescribes a drug/medication that is at best ineffective. The medication prescribed here is neither effective for the indication in general nor for the patient specifically.

Underprescribing

This is a failure to prescribe drugs/medication that are appropriate, or the prescription of very low dosage of appropriate drugs. The resulting condition here could be further deterioration of patients health and certain unwanted effects.

Overprescribing

Overprescribing is simply prescribing an extremely high dosage. This is true when you doctor prescribes too much drugs, increased frequency of medication or unnecessarily longer period of medication. For example, dosage that leads to overuse of antibiotics

How Can We Help With Your Medication errors Claim?

Our medical negligence claim solicitors are specialists in claims relating to medication errors. They have enormous experience handling medical negligence cases and you can rest assured that if you speak to one of our solicitors today, you will receive nothing short of an expert advice.

The moment you contact us, we will critically investigate your claim to understand if you have grounds for such claims. If we are confident that you should proceed further, you will be advised and we will move on to lodge your legal claim and represent you in court if need be.

In most cases, your healthcare provider is contacted and investigations are made into how and why you have suffered unnecessary pain and suffering.

If you need urgent advice on your situation, our medical negligence claim solicitors are always on hand to help you. They will provide you with a free assessment of your claims and give you all the information you need to make an informed decision.

Making Medication Errors Compensation Claim

Medication errors and incorrect drug treatments can have debilitating impact on a person’s life. If you or your loved ones have had to suffer the consequences of medication or prescribing errors, you may be entitled to a claim for compensation.

Our team of medical negligence experts can help you understand your legal options to achieve the best possible outcome. Your compensation claims ensures you are financially equipped to enjoy a better quality of life.

For a successful medication errors claim, we will need to be able to prove that:

  • there was indeed a medication error
  • the medication error caused an injury or some harm that would not otherwise have occurred

It would interest you to know that our medical negligence lawyers will provide you with a no obligation assessment of your claim. What this means is that you compensation claims are carried out on a No Win, No Fee basis. Feel free to contact us anytime.

What compensation can I expect to receive for my claim for medication errors?

For any form of medication errors in the UK, you may be able to claim medical negligence compensation for such errors. Whether it is a wrong prescription, an overdose, an underdose, or worse case scenario where medication errors results in unexpected death, you are entitled to receive a compensation.

However compensation differs based on how significant or severe an injury is. In this regard, our medical negligence experts use a medical negligence claim calculator to give you an estimated value of your claim. With that you can have an idea of the amount of compensation you may be entitled to, as well as determine if the claim is worth pursuing.

Feel free to contact us today to discuss your claim.

What is the cost of medication errors claim?

Here at nhsnegligenceclaim.com, you are only required to pay our fees if you have successfully received a compensation claim for medication errors. Our services are provided on a ‘no win, no fee‘ basis.

For successful claims, you will be charged a small percentage of your total compensation award to cover the costs of the investigation and the legal work performed. For unsuccessful claims, this fee is waived

FAQs

  • Q: What are the most common medication errors? img

    Medication errors can happen due to the actions of a medical professional and the consequences could be very devastating. For most persons, the sudden realization that their current condition could have easily been avoided poses even greater emotional and psychological trauma.

    While medication errors can occur in a plethora of instances, our medical negligence solicitors have found these ones below to be some of the most common errors popular in healthcare settings today.

    • drug overdose due to a doctor or pharmacist’s mistake
    • wrong prescription given as a result of an oversight
    • computer error
    • birth defects in child from drugs given to mothers during pregnancy
    • toxic drug interactions
    • conditions resulting from improper monitoring of drugs used to treat chronic illnesses such as asthma, hypertension and psychiatric illness
    • stroke resulting from drugs used to treat heart attack
    • hearing loss from Gentamicin toxicity
    • Incorrect labels
    • Inadequate anaesthesia prior to surgery
    • Drug administered intravenously rather than intramuscularly

  • Although medication errors result from plain human error or systemic error, they cause severe physical injury and possible death to patients. These seemingly preventable mistakes could also bring about severe financial, psychological, and emotional stress to the healthcare provider involved and hospital/ organisation.

    Consequences for patients:

    Consequences of medication errors for patients run from no notable effects to more irreversible damages like death. In most instances, patients tend to suffer a new condition that is either temporary or permanent. For example, itching, rashes, or skin disfigurement and possible death.

    Medication errors could greatly impact the quality of life of victims and by extension their loved ones. Take for instance when a person suffers stroke as a result of medication errors, they risk losing their source of livelihood and may become dependent on others. This is why most person pursue compensation claims for medical negligence.

    Consequences for Healthcare providers:

    Doctors, nurses and pharmacists who unintentionally prescribe the wrong medication to patients could suffer guilt and self-doubt for the rest of their lives. In most cases, they are known as the second victims as they experience emotional distress close to that of their victims.

    More so, when patients or patients’ family members learn about the medication errors, they can decide to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the healthcare professional for such negligence. Worse still, the healthcare provider faces possible revoke of his/her license.

    Consequences for Healthcare institution/hospitals

    Healthcare organizations can also face huge legal charges from patients or patients’ family members as a result of medication errors. If the staff involved in the error (medical professional) is employed in the hospital, the organization may also need to bear the consequences such as increased cost of unplanned prolonged treatment. Additionally, depending on the error, even big institutions like the NHS can also be sued.

  • Yes, you may be eligible for a medical negligence compensation claim if you have an adverse reaction or complication that is directly associated with a medication error. And if you are able to prove this.

  • If you have noticed a change in your condition from bad to worse and you are convinced that you have been prescribed the wrong medication, you can easily file for a compemsation claim.

    First thing you need to do is seek out some of the best medical negligence claim solicitors in your area. However, it is worthy of note that not all medical negligence lawyers are as profound as they claim to be. But here at nhsnegligenceclaim.com, you will find our medical negligence experts dedicated to making compensation claims for medication errors. They are experts in helping victims claim the compensation that they deserve.

  • You can claim compensation against anyone who has prescribed wrong medication for you or your loved one. Whether its your doctor, nurse, dentist, assistant, lab personnel, pharmacist, private hospital or GP, they owe you a ‘duty of care’ to exercise caution when examining, advising, diagnosing and treating you.

    If for any reason they breach your trust by prescribing wrong medicines for treatment or surgery, you may be able to make a medical negligence compensation claim.

    At nhsnegligenceclaim.com, we are experts at what we do and we have successfully helped several scores of victims gain compemsation for medication errors.

  • If your loved one has suffered daring consequences as a result of medication errors, you can claim compensation on behalf of such a person.

    At nhsnegligenceclaim.com, we provide support to those whose loved ones have been victims of medical negligence but are unable to make a claim due to their incapacity. When you contact us, you will be guided, step by step, on how to make the claim and get the sense of justice you desire.

    We understand that compensations do not measure up to the emotional pain and heartache you or your loved ones may experience but it sure provides a soft landing for all the financial burdens incurred. This is why we manage your claims with utmost care in order to deliver success at the end of the day.

  • Wondering how long it takes to sue for medical negligence due to medication errors?

    Time limits vary under practicing laws in different countries. However, generally, you will need to take legal action within three years of the injury or complication. More so, the timeline may be shorter or longer depending on the medication error case.

    This is why we advise medication errors victims to get in touch with medical negligence experts as soon as they are able, to start their claim.

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