How to Avoid Dangerous Medication Errors
Each year, Americans are at higher risk for death or injury because of medication errors. One report found that 1,400 medications were used on accident between 2003 and 2006. Sometimes this is pharmaceutical error, since many medications look and sound alike. In other cases, overworked nurses dispense medications to the wrong room. If you or a loved one have suffered as a result of a medication or prescription drug error, contact a Roden + Love, LLC Savannah prescription drug error lawyer for a free initial legal consultation.
A medication error can have devastating consequences, particularly if you are on multiple medications that might interact with each other. Here are some steps can you take to ensure that this does not happen to you or a loved one.
Get to Know Your Pharmacist
Whenever you receive a new prescription, take some time to talk it over with your neighborhood pharmacist. Know the name of the medication and how to pronounce it correctly so you can relay this information to your physicians. Keep a list of your medications in your wallet or purse.
When you do get a prescription for a new medication, ask your prescribing physician to write its indication on the script. Something as simple as “for sinus infection” will do—it provides extra assurance that your pharmacist will not mix your medicine up with something that looks or sounds similar.
Whenever you pick up your prescriptions, check the label. Does it match what your doctor ordered? What about the package insert and directions—do those match, too? A little double checking never hurts, especially if it helps you avoid a medication mix-up.
Be Familiar With Your Medicine Cabinet
Taking time to survey your medicine cabinet can save you some worry. Make sure you are consuming all of your medications as prescribed. Medication labels can sometimes be hard to understand, and there is no shame in calling your doctor’s office or pharmacy for help.
Know that all drugs have possible side effects. Be familiar with the side effects of each medication you are taking. Ambien, for example, can cause confusion and impairment, so you should never drive or operate heavy machinery with it in your system. If you are experiencing any side effects that make it difficult for you to go about your everyday tasks, get in touch with your doctor immediately. Your dosage may need to be adjusted, or you may be experiencing an interaction with another medication.
Be Your Own Advocate
Recent data estimate that 1 out of every 6 prescriptions contain some sort of mistake. Many mistakes happen during hospital admissions, when patients are too stressed to properly articulate their prescriptions to emergency room doctors. To avoid a possible disastrous interaction, refer to your list of medications and tell your doctor about anything that you may be taking—no matter how insignificant it seems.
To streamline the process, download a list at safemedication.com that you can refer to whenever you need it. You may never plan on landing in the hospital, but you never know when an accident will lead you there.
When you are in the hospital, always be sure that a nurse checks your ID before dispensing your medications. Nurses are often overworked and interrupted by the needs of other patients, so it is easy for them to swap medications by mistake. Hospitals take extra assurances to prevent mistakes by electronically scanning your id before scanning your medications into their central system. Ensure that they do both before you take any of your meds. If you know you will not be able to advocate for yourself during these situation, have someone you trust there to help.
Have You Been Injured by a Medication Error?
Medication errors are common and can lead to grievous consequences. If you believe you were a victim of negligence, contact our office today for a free case evaluation with one of our experienced and successful Savannah personal injury lawyers. You may be eligible for compensation. To see if you can benefit from our personal injury law services, get in touch with our office today.