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2 lifesaving tips for avoiding medication errors

On Behalf of | Apr 12, 2024 | Medical Malpractice |

As with most people, you expect health care professionals to know and do what is best for you. Yet, the reality is that they can make mistakes that result in serious health complications or endanger the lives of patients.

Trusting your doctor is still important, but vigilance is essential, especially when taking multiple medications.

How medication errors happen

Medication error typically occurs when a patient takes the incorrect drug or dosage, causing them serious harm. Many events can lead to medication errors, such as:

  • Unclear or illegible handwritten prescriptions
  • Medications that have similar names or appearance
  • Miscommunication between a doctor and their patient
  • Giving the correct drug but prescribing the wrong dosage, frequency or duration
  • Overlooking drug interactions
  • Incorrect dosing of intravenous medicines

Though preventable, these things can happen when a doctor, nurse or medical provider fails to provide a high standard of care. While these events may be outside of your control as a patient, you can still take steps to safeguard your health.

Being your own health advocate

  1. Keep a detailed record of your medications

Now that you understand the dangers of medication error, it may be time to take charge of your health. Consider creating a drug chart to record your medicines, dosages, symptoms and side effects. By doing this, you can give your doctor accurate information during your next appointment. It could help them avoid prescribing medicines that are ineffective or that interact badly with other drugs.

  1. Ask your doctor questions

Doctors are some of the busiest people, but it’s crucial to take the time to ask questions and ensure you understand your treatment. If necessary, a nurse can help explain things further. Here are some key questions to consider asking at your next visit:

  • What is this medication for?
  • What side effects should I watch for, and when should I be concerned?
  • What should I do if I miss a dose?
  • How should I respond if my symptoms change?
  • Could this interact with my other medications?

Being proactive and informed about your prescriptions can significantly reduce the risk of medication errors.

If you experience a negative reaction or if your condition worsens after following your treatment plan, consider speaking to an attorney. While not every instance of medication error warrants legal action, a lawyer can help determine whether you have a medical malpractice case.