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Understanding the Four Classifications of Adverse Drug Events

DrugIt is estimated that at least half of all Americans take one prescription drug daily while one in six take three or more prescription medications per day. This data, released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) leaves many wondering if we have become the most medicated country on the planet. With over 10,000 prescription medications available, the advances and benefits in clinical therapeutics has been remarkable but with these advances also comes the increased risk for medication errors.

Adverse Drug Events

It has been reported that adverse drug events or ADEs are responsible for nearly 700,000 emergency room visits and up to 100,000 hospital admissions on an annual basis. Generally, the medical community does not automatically classify an ADE as a medical error or lack of professional judgment. However, for those experiencing pain and sometimes even death from a medication error, they may give rise to serious medical and legal concerns.

Currently, there are four classifications of ADEs known to the medical community:

  • Potential ADE - when a medication error has not caused the patient harm as it was caught and corrected before reaching the patient or the patient received the medication and did not experience any harmful repercussion;
  • Non Preventable ADE - when a medication has been prescribed and administered correctly to the patient who then experiences various slight side effects of the medication;
  • Ameliorable ADE - often used to classify harm experienced by the patient that although not completely preventable, the reaction was not dangerously severe; and
  • Preventable ADE - as the most dangerous of the four ADE classifications, a preventable ADE occurs when medication has been prescribed and results in serious side effects causing additional health risks to the patient or resulting in death and was determined to be have been clinically preventable.

Preventing ADEs remains a priority for The Joint Commission, non-profit organization committed to patient safety and the promotion of clinical standards. The dangers are so concerning that the regulatory agency has continued to name the prevention of ADE’s as a national patient safety goal for both hospitals and other regulated medical facilities.

Recovering Compensation for an ADE

If you or a loved one experienced a preventable ADE during a recent hospital stay and feel that your health has been compromised due to this error, the experienced San Jose medical malpractice attorneys of Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. would like to hear from you. We offer free initial consultations and take no fee unless we win your case. Contact us today for more information.

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My experience with Attorney Brad Corsiglia during my recent medical malpractice case was nothing short of amazing given the very stressful circumstances. I was fortunate to find Brad highly recommended from a mutual contact and from the very beginning of the process, Brad was truly engaged and knowledgeable in understanding my case and providing input on what avenues were available to me. Michelle M.