Medication Errors/Malpractice Lawyers in Dallas

Approximately 4 billion prescriptions for medications are filled each year in the U.S. The National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention defines a medication error as "any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the health care professional, patient or consumer." Consider these shocking statistics:

  • Up to 7,000 medical malpractice deaths are attributed to adverse drug events
  • The number of serious adverse drug events reported to the Food and Drug Administration totaled 89,842 in 2005, more than double the amount in 1998
  • There are approximately 1.25 million annual medication errors in the U.S.
  • Almost one in five medication doses administered in hospitals is given in error

From 2003-2006, more than 1,400 commonly used drugs were involved in errors linked to drug names that looked or sounded alike. The FDA says that Serzone and Seroquel, Lamictal and Lamisil, Ludiomil and Lomotil, Taxotere and Taxol, Zantac and Zyrtec or Zyprexa and Celebrex and Celexa are common examples of drug names that can get easily mixed up. In 2006, the average payout for a malpractice case involving medication errors was $251,454.

The American Hospital Association says that incomplete patient information, unavailable drug information, miscommunication of drug orders, lack of appropriate drug labeling and environmental factors (that can distract medical professionals) are all contributing factors to medication errors.

When can medical professionals be held responsible?

Medication errors can include any of the following: doctors make mistakes with prescriptions and nurses or pharmacies give patients the wrong dose or wrong medication. The most common medication errors involve a doctor ordering the wrong medication for a patient's condition, ordering the wrong medication because of misdiagnosis, ordering the wrong concentration or dosage, or ordering medication that conflicts or is "contraindicated" with other medications.

In one study involving medication errors at children's hospitals, "Twenty-two percent of all adverse drug events were deemed preventable, 17.8% could have been identified earlier, and 16.8% could have been mitigated more effectively."

Advice for Consumers

The U.S. Pharmacopia suggests that "Consumers picking up prescriptions should check the indication for use appearing on the drug's label or ask their pharmacist for this information. If the indication given by the pharmacy is different from what the prescriber said the medication is for, that is a red flag for the consumer to ask questions. Consumers should exercise their right to receive counseling from the pharmacist every time they begin a new medication to ensure they know the name of the drug and its pronunciation, and what it is and how to take it." The FDA also advises that:

  • Know what kind of errors occur
  • Find out what drug you're taking and what it's for
  • Find out how to take the drug and make sure you understand the directions
  • Keep a list of all medications, including OTC drugs, as well as dietary supplements, medicinal herbs, and other substances you take for health reasons, and report it to your health care providers- don't forget about vitamins, laxatives, sleeping aides, and birth control pills
  • If you are unsure, ask- be on the lookout for clues of a problem, such as if your pills look different than normal or if you notice a different drug name or different directions that what you thought

Medication errors can cause any of the following injuries: liver damage, coma, kidney disease, chemical burns in the digestive system, brain injury, hypertensia, internal bleeding or a permanent disability. In some cases, medication errors even result in death.

Get Zinda Law Group on your side now!

If a doctor failed to anticipate effects of drug allergies, failed to counsel you about the medication, if a pharmacist miscommunicated with a doctor's office, if a pharmacy overemphasized speed and volume over safety or if inadequate regulations existed- you could have a medical malpractice lawsuit. Contact Zinda Law Group today to find out more about medication errors and how you can take legal action with the help from our Personal Injury Attorneys!