Prescription Medication Error

A 2006 report by the Institute of Medicine rang a loud alarm about prescription medication errors that harm people every day. Such errors may be made by doctors that prescribe the medications, pharmacists that dispense them, or nurses that administer them to patients. According to the report, each year more than 400,000 preventable injuries and fatalities are caused by drug errors that occur in hospitals in the U.S., and more than 800,000 such injuries and fatalities occur in facilities that care for seniors. Egregious medication errors sometimes make their way into the news—as when the children of a well-known actor nearly died after receiving an overdose of a blood-thinning medication while they were hospitalized. However, many errors go unreported. Doctors sometimes fail to consider the interactions between various drugs that a patient may be taking, fail to inform their patients about the symptoms of serious side effects, fail to perform necessary blood tests before prescribing certain medications, or simply prescribe the wrong medicine for a particular condition or illness. Pharmacists may dispense a much higher dosage than the one prescribed, or confuse two drugs with similar-sounding names. Nurses may administer a medication to the wrong patient. In each case, a person who is already in need of medical treatment may be severely injured, or even killed.

There are a number of measures that people can take in order to combat "adverse drug events" — at least when taking medications outside a hospital setting:

  • keep a list of all the medicines that you take, in what doses, and how frequently (including any vitamins and non-prescription medications);
  • bring that list of medications with you when you visit a doctor, and ask the doctor to consider any possible interactions between the medications on that list and any medications to be added
  • ask your doctor or pharmacist about the possible side-effects of the drugs you’ve been prescribed
  • keep prescription medications out of the reach of children
  • follow the directions listed on medication packaging
  • do not take prescription drugs prescribed for someone else.

Unfortunately, people can’t always protect themselves against harm caused by someone else’s negligence.

If you were injured or lost a loved one as a result of a prescription medication error, please contact Peter Thompson & Associates for a free consultation. We represent people injured by prescription medication errors throughout the state of Maine, as well as families who are pursuing wrongful death claims. We don’t get paid unless we obtain financial recovery for our clients.

For a free consultation, please call 800-804-2004 or fill out and submit our online form.

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