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Philadelphia Medication Error Lawyers

Medication Errors and Your Health

When an individual is given the wrong medication or wrong dosage, it can lead to serious health consequences. Drug errors can take place in ordering, transcribing, dispensing or administering the medication. When drug mistakes are made, health complications, illness, medical emergencies or death are possible outcomes. The health providers responsible for the mistake can include doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, pharmacists and in some cases drug manufacturers.

Statistics on Medication Mistakes

Currently, one-third of all U.S. adults take five or more prescription drugs. Although many of these medicines improve the lives of patients, more prescribed drugs create a risk of serious side effects and dangerous drug interactions.

An Adverse Drug Event (ADE) is a term describing when a patient is harmed by a medication. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, ADEs account for nearly 700,000 emergency department visits and 100,000 hospitalizations every year. In addition, ADEs affect five percent of all hospitalized patients, which is a frighteningly common type of inpatient error.

Outpatient care is considered even riskier when it comes to the possibility of ADEs. Estimates indicate that 50 percent of ADEs are preventable, and that half are caused by human error. Most are caused by commonly used medications that carry a high risk of adverse reaction in the patient. Half of all emergency department visits for Medicare patients are due to adverse events stemming from anti-diabetic agents such as insulin, oral anticoagulants such as Warfarin, and antiplatelet agents such as Aspirin.

Putting Patient Safety First: Who Is At risk for Drug Errors?

Patients with the highest risk of suffering an ADE include:

Medication errors often happen to the elderly explains Philadelphia medication mistakes lawyers from the Colleran Firm
Elderly patients on multiple medications: There is a higher risk for elderly individuals to develop a health problem associated with medications. It has been estimated that 88 percent of ADE hospitalizations among older adults were preventable. Drug interactions can be extremely dangerous, and for an elderly person on multiple medications, the potential for a health problem is increased.
Patients who have another condition such as pregnancy are more likely to suffer from drug errors says Philadelphia's The Colleran Firm
Patients with another condition: Patients that have another condition such as renal impairment or pregnancy are at a higher risk for ADEs. In a study published by the S. Department of Health & Human Services, it was found that 42-60 percent of ADEs were attributed to excessive drug dosage for a patient’s weight, underlying health conditions or renal function.
Children , infants, and babies often suffer from medication errors due to most of their medications being in liquid form
Pediatric patients: Unfortunately, medication errors are more likely to occur in children than in older patients. One reason is that children are more likely to be given liquid medications, which can be measured in milliliters, teaspoons or measuring cups. The various measurements can lead to confusion for caregivers or medical professionals. The weight of the child will determine dosage; errors in the quantity of medication administered for the weight of the child are particularly dangerous.
Patients who are illiterate or have limited language skills are often the victims of Philadelphia medication mistakes due to the fact that they don't know they are being given the wrong medication
Patients with limited literacy: Illiterate patients face a higher risk of medication errors and generally require assistance to take medications. These patients are at an increased risk of danger due to their inability to read or to fully understand directions and warnings.

Where Medication Errors are Made

Mistakes can occur in any setting and at any point along the line of drug administration. These steps include:

medication errors can happen to anyone and are considered a form of medical malpractice in Pennsylvania
Ordering: The clinician must select the appropriate medication, the correct dosage and the correct frequency of administration. Errors during the prescription ordering phase can have serious or deadly results.
physicians often make serious medication mistakes during the ordering of medications
Transcribing: The pharmacist or hospital clerk must read and interpret the prescription correctly upon receipt of the prescription. If the intermediary misinterprets, misreads or incorrectly transcribes either the drug or dosage, there is a high potential for injury to a patient.
misinterpretation during transcribing can often lead to medication mistakes, these are very serious and can even be fatal.
Dispensing: The pharmacist must check the prescription for drug interactions and allergies. The correct form of the drug in the appropriate quantity can only then be released, with warnings for specific risks.
the administration of certain medicines has a higher rate of error than others, learn if you are at risk from Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers at The Colleran Firm
Administration: The correct medication must be given to the correct patient at the correct time in the correct manner. In a hospital, this is generally the responsibility of a nurse. In outpatient care, this is generally the responsibility of a patient or caregiver.

Recent studies have highlighted the role that fatigue plays in caregiver error. In a tragic Wisconsin case, fatigue contributed to a delivery nurse administering a lethal dose of bupivacaine-fentanyl (an epidural anesthetic) to a patient that was prescribed an antibiotic. The patient died within an hour. In another example of fatigue contributing to a preventable ADE, a nurse near the end of her 16-hour shift went to obtain furosemide (a medicine that treats fluid prevention and high blood pressure). Due to fatigue, she picked up a bottle of potassium chloride instead. The bottle was labeled correctly and the nurse even read the label of the bottle. Her cognitive function was allegedly inhibited, due to lack of sleep and she inadvertently gave the wrong medication to the patient, resulting in fatal arrhythmia.

Other factors that can contribute to medication errors include medical professionals who have a cluttered work environment, distractions occurring during drug administration, distractions while obtaining medication to administer, and medical professionals with long hours and heavy workloads, leading to fatigue.

Reach Out to Our Medication Error Lawyers in Philadelphia

If you or a loved one has suffered from medication errors, you need an attorney from The Colleran Firm on your side to protect your right to fair compensation. After suffering an injury, health condition or illness from drug errors, you may feel betrayed, confused and helpless.

We have been helping people with medical malpractice cases involving medication errors since 1995. We will review your case and advise you if we believe we that the evidence points to a case of medical malpractice.

We have recovered millions of dollars in settlements for our clients. When we take on a case, we pursue compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages and other damages. Contact us today for a free consultation to get your questions answered. We are here to help you seek justice.

The attorneys at The Colleran Firm handle serious injury cases caused by health care provider negligence and medical malpractice in Pennsylvania & New Jersey.

Connect With Us:

The Colleran Firm

2005 Market Street # 1940
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: (215) 972-8000
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