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Prescription Errors Are More Common Than Previously Thought

According to, separate studies recently performed in Canadian hospitals showed that medication errors are far more common than previously believed and that they include a variety of cases that go from mix-up of drugs to wrong drug interactions.

Medication Error

A medication error by a doctor or pharmacist occurs when a patient is given the wrong dosage of a medication or when the patient is given the wrong medication for his or her condition. Of course, a patient can make a medication error when he or she uses expired drugs, or does not adhere to a drug-taking schedule, or is not aware of adverse drug, dietary, and allergic interactions. Medication errors often have life-threatening consequences.

There are many causes for medication errors. For example, they can occur because the pharmacist may have trouble reading the doctor’s handwritten notes or get confused about different drugs with similar names or misunderstand the dosage. Many errors occur when the prescription is entered into the pharmacy’s computer system, especially by a non-pharmacist assistant, incorrectly. A medication error can also occur when a physician, nurse or pharmacist fail to explain to the patient how a drug interacts with other medications or foods, or when the physician fails to gather all necessary information about a patient’s drug history, diets or allergies before prescribing a drug. That is one reason why it is good idea to have all your medications filled at the same pharmacy, as pharmacists are supposed to be trained to pick up on such interactions.

Medication Errors Occur Quite Often

As stated before, a recent studies performed at Canadian hospitals found that medication errors occur often, sometimes with deadly results. For example, one of the studies showed that 20 drug-administration errors occurred by ward and although the majority of issues were related to mix-ups and near misses, 14 percent had lethal results. That’s an incredible and scary percentage!

Similarly, another Canadian study found that close to 10 percent of child patients in 22 hospitals had been victims of medication errors. The study also showed that given their unique physiology and developmental needs, children are very vulnerable to medication errors. This second study showed that 22 percent of the adverse drug events found were preventable, while 17.8 percent could have been identified earlier and 16.8 percent could have been treated more effectively.

Not Only in Canada

Of course, medication errors do not occur only with children or in Canada. Dr. Leora Horwitz, a doctor from Yale-New Haven Hospital, recently admitted in an interview that “every physician can tell you about these kinds of errors. We do a relatively poor job of educating patients about their medications.”

Also, we may add, these errors are not made only by medical doctors. As stated before, pharmacists make them quite often….In fact, our firm has represented many clients in cases were national pharmacy chains as well as local pharmacies have made harmful errors affecting them.

For example, in one case our client, a woman that had suffered a minor stroke, was prescribed a medication by her doctors to raise her blood pressure. The pharmacy mistakenly gave her medication to lower her blood pressure, something that further complicated her recovery. We were successful in getting her a monetary award.

In another case we represented a pregnant woman who was mistakenly given Propecia, the prostate medication of another patient. Women are specifically warned not to take or even handle this medication. As a consequence of this mistake our client suffered adverse effects. Again, we obtained a monetary award for her only after we and the client were satisfied that any and all possible temporary or lasting side effects of the error were investigated, understood and compensated for.

Please visit our Notable Cases pages to learn more about other pharmaceutical error cases we have handled.

The Lawyers of Greenberg Stone and Urbano Can Help

Throughout the years, the Miami Dade County Pharmaceutical Error Law Offices of Greenberg Stone and Urbano have represented many clients that have been the victims of medication errors. Visit our website to learn more about our firm and contact us today for a free consultation.

With more than 100 years of combined experience, the lawyers of Greenberg Stone and Urbano are ready to help clients that have the victims of medication errors by physicians and/or pharmacists recover the funds they need for their rehabilitation.

If you or a loved one the victims of medication errors by physicians and/or pharmacists, you should immediately contact a law firm experienced in handling these cases. As stated before, a lawyer can help you seek financial compensation from those whose negligence caused your injuries as well as from their insurers. This financial compensation may include past and future medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.

We offer a free initial consultation and we work on contingency fees, which means that there is no charge unless we win your case.

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