The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) report that 1.3 million people in the U.S. are injured every year by medication errors. The most common medical error reported in out-patient clinics, hospitals, long term care settings are medication errors. Medication mistakes have more than doubled over the course of a decade and many of the errors were preventable and point to human error.
Medication Errors Drug Categories
The medications most frequently associated with serious medical issues are most commonly taken by those over 50-years of age. The drug categories with the most errors reported include cardiovascular medications, blood pressure medications, pain relievers such as opioids and acetaminophen, or hormones like insulin.
Medication Errors Statistics
Georgia’s 11Alive News reported that medication errors jumped from 16,689 in 2010 to more than 93,930 in 2016 which is a 462% increase in errors reported. Cardiovascular drugs were tied to one in five errors made. Diabetic medication errors have increased to over 300%. Two-thirds of deaths from medication errors are associated with both cardiovascular and pain meds.
Preventing Medication Errors
Take charge of your medications and find out the what, why, when, of each prescription and over-the-counter drug you may be taking. Some other preventative strategies you may want to take include:
- Georgia law mandates that a pharmacist offers consultation when you pick up a new prescription. The consultation must be with the actual pharmacist, not the pharmacy technician.
- Ask your doctor and pharmacist about each medication, why you are taking it, how it should be taken, what to do if you miss a dose, any drug interactions to be aware of
- Develop a system to keep track of when to take your medications through use of a pill organizer, medication log, a written schedule or daily check list
- Keep medications in a safe set place
- Refrigerate those drugs that specify to keep cool
- Educate yourself to any side effects to watch for and plan for safety
Examples of Medication Errors Cases
Medication errors are on the rise. Some examples of errors in dispensing the incorrect medication which caused harm include:
- A 26 year old Snellville, Georgia, woman was diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a rare skin disorder, usually caused by reaction to a medication or an incorrect dosage. Her law suit claims she was given the wrong dosage which caused her skin to blister and “melt off,” destroyed her sweat glands, and is causing slow loss of vision.
- A 71 year old patient diagnosed with hypertension had been prescribed Norvasc however was actually given Navane (thiothixene), an antipsychotic, by the pharmacy. The pharmacy had accidently dispensed the wrong medication despite the written prescription being fully legible.
- A 2016 hospital out-patient case report details a 50-year-old women who was accidentally administered epinephrine instead of midazolam during her preparation for a colonoscopy. This error resulted in chest tightness, difficulty breathing and tremors and turned her out-patient procedure into a hospital stay.
- A 73 year old man with cardiac arrhythemia incorrectly received Synthroid (levothyroxine) 150 mcg from the pharmacy instead of the prescribed Rythmol 150 mg. The pharmacist who filled the prescription attributed the error to unclear handwriting on the prescription copy.
Medication Errors Attorney
If you or your loved ones have been impacted by a medication error, it is time to take charge of your situation and call on an expert in medication harm and error – Call the office of attorney Joel Baskin for a consultation of your medical and financial recovery needs.