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New study reports medication errors cause more harm than you think

Every medical professional has a duty to provide the best possible care to each patient they see. Unfortunately, medical errors are still common in hospitals and care centers across the country. 

According to NBC News, nearly one in ten patients suffer complications or severe injuries because of preventable medical errors. And NBC cites a recent study which determined that a large portion of those errors involve medication or treatment mistakes. 

Almost half of errors related to medication and treatment 

The report determined that of all the patients they studied, more than 49% of injuries and harmful effects resulted from a doctor prescribing the incorrect or improper medication. These injuries, called “adverse drug events,” often depend on the individual and the type of drug. 

However, common issues include when doctors:

  • Prescribe medications the patient is allergic to
  • Prescribe multiple medications that interact negatively
  • Prescribe unnecessary medications
  • Administer medications improperly
  • Administer too much medication, leading to an overdose
  • Use medications inappropriately

All of these medication errors are preventable. Medical professionals have a responsibility to check their work and ensure that they provide patients with the correct medicines and doses.

How can individuals reduce the risk of medication errors?

Seeking medical care should not leave individuals afraid that they will suffer a severe injury. The rate of medication errors is alarming, but there are steps individuals can take to avoid the risk.

The Mayo Clinic provides a few helpful tips, such as:

  • Confirming the prescription with the doctor, and perhaps even with another medical professional, before taking it
  • Informing doctors of any allergies immediately and asking what the medication contains
  • Asking and understanding possible side effects and determining what to do if they experience side effects
  • Keeping a detailed record of all medications

These steps can be beneficial. They can help individuals advocate for themselves and protect their health. However, it is still–and always will be–the duty of medical professionals to avoid these easily preventable mistakes. If individuals believe that they or a loved one suffered from a medication error, they may be entitled to recover compensation.