When many Idaho residents think about medical malpractice, they think about doctors and nurses making mistakes. However, many types of medication dispensing errors also fall under the heading of medical malpractice. There are some common medication dispensing errors that often result in medical malpractice claims.
Dispensing expired medication
Every medication has an expiration date on it when it leaves the manufacturer. In many cases, taking medicine beyond that date doesn’t cause adverse effects but does result in the medication not being as effective as the patient needs it to be. Dispensing of expired medications that result in an adverse reaction is a form of medical malpractice.
Duration errors result in a patient taking a medication for a shorter or longer period than prescribed. In a clinical setting, this may include a nurse administering medication to a patient who no longer needs it.
Incorrectly preparing a medication typically occurs in a compounding pharmacy or a clinical setting. If the person preparing the medication uses an incorrect dilutant, doesn’t mix the medication correctly or makes another error, the patient may suffer.
Most medications come in a variety of strengths. Your doctor prescribes your medications based on your specific needs. If the person filling a prescription or administering the medication gives you the wrong strength, they’ve committed medical malpractice.
Giving a patient the wrong medication is the most serious medication error. A patient taking the wrong medication doesn’t receive the treatment their doctor recommended. The consequences may be dire if the patient has an allergy to a medication and is given the medication anyway.
According to studies, roughly 75% of medication errors are caused by distracted healthcare professionals. That is why many hospitals have instituted procedures that limit the number of distractions in their units.