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Understanding the Risks of Injury From Prescription Medication Errors

Medication ErrorsWhile medical professionals often prescribe medications for a variety of reasons, the introduction of a medication into a patient’s system brings the risk an unexpected adverse reaction. The possibility of damage dramatically increases if the patient is taking more than one prescription medication. While each medicine is intended to create the desired health effects through chemical reactions within the body, when multiple biochemical processes coincide, there is a chance for incompatibility. Mixing drugs and medication errors can have potentially deadly side effects.

The Dangers

You have likely seen commercial television advertisements put out by pharmaceutical companies. Marketing executives ensure that the miraculous, life-saving potential of their medication comes across loud and clear. However, the potential risks and side effects often appear in an almost comical fashion during these commercials, often in a rushed and inaudible manner at the tail-end of the ad. Viewers who listen carefully will often hear “do not take this medication if you are taking [certain other medications]” in addition to a slew of other potentially life-threatening side effects. Ignoring these advisories can have the following consequences:

  • Lessened effectiveness of medication
  • Allergic reactions
  • Unexpected side effects
  • Death
Who is Responsible?

As patients, we sometimes blindly trust in the expertise and training of our medical treatment staff. Unfortunately, staff members can be overworked, rushed, or even careless, resulting in errors. One study found that 1.7% of all medications dispensed are in error. Doctors, pharmacists, and anyone on the treating medical staff have the responsibility to monitor medications. Failure to take adequate time to examine potential contraindications, allergies, or other harmful drug interactions puts patients in unnecessary danger.

How to Reduce Risk

Although it is the medical professional’s responsibility to identify potential interactions, there are precautions patients can take to avoid extraneous errors. When prescribed a medication, consider the following habits:

  • Disclose any known allergies or medicines to all members of the medical staff.
  • Ensure readability of the prescription.
  • Ask the pharmacist to verify the medication given is the drug prescribed.
  • Read the name on the prescription bottle.
  • Match the description of the medicine to the substance within the container.
  • Ask the pharmacist about administration directions and potential side effects.
Get Legal Assistance From a Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If you or a loved one has experienced medical repercussions or death due to the negligence or error of someone on your medical staff, you may be able to seek compensation for your damages. Corsiglia McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. will vigorously and aggressively pursue claims against the responsible party, helping you receive the resources you need to address the injuries you have suffered. Contact a San Jose, CA medical malpractice attorney today by calling (408) 289-1417 to schedule your free consultation.

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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.