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Medication Errors

Medication Error Attorneys In Cleveland


At The Becker Law Firm, we provide experienced and compassionate representation to people who have suffered due to medication errors at hospitals and other medical facilities. Whether the cause of your injury was negligence on the part of a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or another medical professional, we will pursue full and fair compensation for the losses you have suffered.

Contact us to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our experienced Ohio medication errors attorneys. We can be reached online or by phone at (440) 252-4399.

What is a Medication Error?

A medication error refers to any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the healthcare professional, patient, or consumer. These errors can occur at any stage of the medication use process, including prescribing, dispensing, administering, and monitoring. Medication errors can have serious consequences, ranging from mild discomfort to severe adverse effects, and even death.

Here are some common forms of medication errors:

  • Prescription Errors: These occur when a healthcare provider prescribes the wrong medication, the wrong dose, or the wrong instructions for use.
  • Dispensing Errors: These happen when a pharmacist or other healthcare professional provides the wrong medication or the wrong dose to the patient. This could be due to misreading the prescription, selecting the wrong medication, or labeling errors.
  • Administration Errors: These occur when the medication is not administered correctly to the patient. This might include giving the wrong medication, the wrong dose, administering it via the wrong route (e.g., oral instead of intravenous), or administering it at the wrong time.
  • Documentation Errors: These involve inaccuracies or omissions in documenting medication administration, which can lead to confusion and mistakes in subsequent doses.
  • Monitoring Errors: This involves failure to appropriately monitor the patient's response to medication, such as not checking for adverse effects or not monitoring therapeutic drug levels when necessary.
  • Drug Interaction Errors: These happen when medications with potentially harmful interactions are prescribed together without appropriate consideration.
  • Allergic Reactions: Administering a medication to which the patient is allergic can result in serious reactions. Errors in documenting allergies or failure to check for allergies before prescribing or administering medication can lead to these incidents.
  • Medication Preparation Errors: Errors can occur during the preparation of medications, such as mixing medications incorrectly or using the wrong dilution.
  • Labeling Errors: Incorrect or unclear labeling on medication containers can lead to mistakes in administration or dosage.
  • Medication Storage Errors: Storing medications improperly can lead to degradation of the medication or accidental ingestion by unauthorized persons.

Common Causes of Medication Errors

Medication errors can result from a combination of factors related to healthcare systems, healthcare professionals, patients, and the environment in which care is delivered. Here are some common contributing factors to medication errors:

  • Human Factors: These include cognitive factors such as distraction, fatigue, stress, and workload. Healthcare providers may make errors when they are overworked, tired, or distracted by other tasks.
  • Communication Breakdowns: Poor communication between healthcare providers, such as unclear or incomplete handoffs during shift changes, inadequate documentation, or failure to convey critical information, can lead to medication errors.
  • Lack of Standardization: Inconsistent processes and procedures for medication prescribing, dispensing, and administration increase the likelihood of errors. Standardized protocols and guidelines can help reduce variability and errors.
  • Medication Reconciliation Errors: Inaccurate medication reconciliation during transitions of care, such as admission, transfer, or discharge, can lead to discrepancies in medication regimens and increase the risk of errors.
  • Inadequate Training and Education: Healthcare professionals who lack sufficient training or knowledge about medications, dosages, and potential interactions are more likely to make errors.
  • Workflow Issues: Poorly designed workflow processes, such as interruptions during medication administration or inadequate time for double-checking, can contribute to errors.
  • Look-Alike, Sound-Alike Medications: Medications with similar names or packaging can be easily confused, leading to errors in prescribing, dispensing, or administering the wrong medication.
  • High-Risk Medications: Certain medications, such as opioids, anticoagulants, and chemotherapy drugs, have a higher risk of causing harm if not used correctly. Errors involving these medications can have serious consequences.
  • Technology Issues: Problems with electronic health records (EHRs), computerized physician order entry (CPOE) systems, barcode scanning technology, or other medication-related technologies can contribute to errors if they are not implemented or used correctly.
  • Patient Factors: Patient-related factors, such as language barriers, limited health literacy, cognitive impairment, and non-adherence to medication regimens, can increase the risk of medication errors.
  • Environmental Factors: Busy or chaotic healthcare environments, inadequate lighting, noise, and interruptions can create conditions conducive to errors.
  • Drug Shortages: Shortages of medications can lead to the use of alternative medications or unfamiliar dosing regimens, increasing the risk of errors.

Who is Liable for a Medication Error?

In Ohio, liability for a medication error can vary depending on the specific circumstances surrounding the error. Generally, liability may fall on several parties involved in the medication process, including healthcare providers, pharmacists, and healthcare facilities.

Here's a breakdown of potential liability:

  • Healthcare Providers: Physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other prescribers can be held liable for medication errors if they prescribe the wrong medication, the wrong dose, or fail to adequately monitor the patient's response to medication. Liability may also arise if they fail to obtain a thorough medical history, consider potential drug interactions, or adequately communicate medication instructions to the patient.
  • Pharmacists: Pharmacists can be held liable for medication errors if they dispense the wrong medication, the wrong dose, or fail to provide appropriate counseling to the patient regarding medication use, side effects, and interactions. Pharmacists also have a duty to verify the accuracy of prescriptions and to communicate with prescribers or other healthcare providers if there are concerns about a prescription.
  • Healthcare Facilities: Hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, and other healthcare institutions can be held liable for medication errors that occur within their facilities. Healthcare facilities have a duty to maintain safe medication practices, including implementing policies and procedures to prevent medication errors, providing appropriate training to staff, and ensuring adequate staffing levels to support safe medication administration.
  • Manufacturers: In some cases, liability for medication errors may also extend to pharmaceutical manufacturers if the error resulted from a defect in the medication itself, such as incorrect labeling, packaging, or manufacturing.
  • Others: Depending on the specific circumstances, liability for medication errors may also extend to other parties involved in the medication process, such as nurses, pharmacy technicians, and healthcare administrators.

Why Hire Our Ohio Prescription Drug Mistakes Attorney

Medication errors can take many forms. In some cases, too much or too little medicine is given or prescribed. In some cases, doctors overlook a patient’s medical history and give a drug that may not be dangerous to the general public, but is extremely dangerous to a person with diabetes, for instance. Some medication errors are the result of dangerous drug interactions.

It is the responsibility of medical professionals to ensure that a patient’s history is adequately reviewed and to communicate and document the patient’s condition. When they fail to do so, medication errors are more likely to happen. Our medication error lawyers in Ohio know how to uncover the facts in medical malpractice cases. We conduct thorough investigations to determine who was at fault and how their actions contributed to a serious injury or wrongful death.

Our attorneys do this work because we care about our clients and a just verdict or settlement will make a positive difference in their lives. Please contact us by email or call (440) 252-4399 to arrange a free initial consultation with an experienced Ohio medication error attorneys. We have offices in Cleveland and Elyria and proudly serve clients throughout the state of Ohio.

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