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How Prescription Errors Occur

Doctors prescribe medicine to help keep us healthy. However, a mistake that leads to the wrong medicine being taken can cause serious injury or death. Unfortunately, these types of errors are not uncommon.

The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses the definition of a medication error used by the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention (NCCMERP). It says that “any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the health care professional, patient, or consumer. . . “

According to the Mayo Clinic, more than one million people a year are injured as a result of medication errors. There are many reasons and circumstances that cause prescription errors such as:

  • Administering the wrong drug in error by a nurse or other health care professional
  • Misreading the script by pharmacists, as doctors are not known for their handwriting
  • Mislabeling or confusing instructions leading patients to take the wrong drug or wrong dosage
  • Combining incompatible drugs prescribed by different physicians and taken by the patient at the same time
  • Suffering allergic reactions to medications causing serious or life-threatening conditions
  • Prescribing illegal and unnecessary prescriptions of pain killers and other drugs

Medication errors can and should be avoided. These mistakes can often be prevented with increased communication between physicians, pharmacists, patients and other health care providers. Patients should not be afraid to ask questions and trust their judgment when they suspect something does not sound right.

If you have become sick or injured because of a mistake in prescribing, dispensing or administering your medication, the New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers at Gelman Gelman Wiskow & McCarthy have the experience and resources to help.

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