According to a recent study by the Journal of Patient Safety, 400,000 Americans die every year due to medication errors. And this study was only carried out in hospitals; it didn’t take into account people in other facilities or homes. Thus it’s vital to be aware of the leading causes of these errors in California to avoid costly health damages or injuries.
Medication errors and their causes in California
A medication error is any preventable event that causes someone to get hurt or use a drug wrongly. Such events must be related to a professional practice, for example, a nurse administering an overdose to a patient or a pharmacist dispensing an expired drug.
There are six main types of errors: wrong drug, wrong dose, wrong patient, wrong time, wrong route (of administration), and wrong frequency. Many factors can contribute to these mishaps, including:
- Time pressure
- Inadequate staffing levels
- Lack of knowledge about a particular drug
- Poor communication
- Lack of medication reconciliation post-discharge
What to do when medication errors occur
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a medication error, you can file a medical malpractice claim against the healthcare professional or facility responsible. To build a solid case in California, you must satisfy the following elements:
- The healthcare professional or facility owed you a duty of care
- This duty was breached by an act or omission
- The breach resulted in an injury or death
- You incurred damages as a direct result of this injury or death
Medication errors are a serious problem in healthcare, but some of the things you can do to prevent them include double-checking prescriptions and orders and asking questions when unsure about a drug. However, if it is too late, you may have the option to file a medical malpractice claim to get the compensation you need to correct the damages incurred.