Medication Errors: Asking the Right Questions

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Medication errors are much more common than most people think. In fact, medication errors are thought to be the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Even as medical breakthroughs make it possible to keep us alive and healthy longer than past generations dreamed was possible, medication errors continue to cut lives short and cause incredible amounts of pain and suffering.

It is important to be educated about medication errors. Most fatal medication errors fall into one of three categories. These three categories are:

  • Incorrect dosage. Many medications are powerful even in small doses, so even a small overdose can cause major complications
  • Wrong medication. This medication error is caused either by the pharmacist dispensing the wrong medication or a mix-up where one patient is given medication intended for another patient
  • Wrong route. Many medications have drastically different effects dependent upon how they are administered, as oral medications are processed by the liver whereas injected medications enter the bloodstream directly

Knowing the three most common forms of medication error is very important if you or a loved one is in the hospital. Please, do your best to keep track of what you are being given, and how it is being administered. If you have any questions or fears, don’t hesitate to ask. Also, check your own chart and the charts of loved ones to make sure no dosages change drastically without warning.

Unfortunately many doctors and nurses do not like to be questioned, and some might refuse to give the answers you need. If you or someone you love has been injured or killed due to a medication error, please contact an attorney. The medical profession has yet to make the changes necessary to reduce medication errors, and only once proper pressure is applied through the courts will they do so.