It’s not unusual that, after a routine visit, our physician prescribes us medication for a condition or new ailment. When we turn that prescription in at the pharmacy, we assume that all components are communicated correctly–that the pharmacist can read the doctor’s handwriting or printout, and that the pharmacist is trained to administer the correct amount, dosage and medication. But, as we have heard regarding medical errors, wrongful death lawsuits and botched surgeries, even those we hold in the highest regard of trust for our safety, health and well-being, can err on the side of danger.
Prescription errors are very serious, as we know our doctor has tailored the amount, usage and specific drug to curtail or cure the ailment we have. An over dosage of a particular medication could result in severe disability or death; an under dosage could take more time than necessary to do the job; and an improper dosage could lead to severe ailments of another sort all together. We don’t think that we have to have a degree in pharmaceutical science or understand all facets of medical language to decipher what’s been prescribed for us, but we do need to take some precautions. When it comes to medication of any kind—whether for ourselves, our parents, or our children—responsibility is the key. Here’s what you should do to keep on the alert:
- When your doctor prescribes a medication, be sure to ask him to explain what that medication is and what the dosage is, as listed on the prescription. Ask how many refills there are. Your own personal knowledge will be of value.
- When you drop off the prescription to the pharmacist, relay what your doctor told you.
- When you receive the prescription from the pharmacist, ask him to repeat what’s listed and whether it coincides with the information you were given and were provided. Take notes if you have to.
- Take the medication as directed, and report any and all side effects immediately. While many prescriptions come with some side effects, any prolonged conditions could be cause for a new prescription or an altered dosage of what was originally administered.
- Be aware of drugs that are on a recall list. Some drugs take time to make it to the list and any inconsistencies should be reported.
We trust our physicians and pharmacists, and with electronic technology and conversions, it is expected that some mishaps might occur. If you feel you have been prescribed or have been taking an improper or inaccurate dose of a medication, notify your physician and pharmacist immediately so they can amend the prescription or withdraw your taking that medication. Then, find an attorney who can work with you to take the next step. Taking the time to research and ask questions will yield better personal care in the future.