MEDICATION ERRORS AND MEDICAL MALPRACTICE

Negligence contributing to a medication error that leads to an injury can result in a claim for medical malpractice.

The old joke about physicians having horrible handwriting is not humorous to patients who suffer an injury connected to a medication error due to a physician’s poor handwriting. Unfortunately, if a medical professional misreads the order and provides the wrong medication, serious injury or even death can result.

A recent publication by The Leapfrog Group, a group that promotes improvements in patient safety in health care, reports that the use of an innovative program has reduced the rate of medication errors. A study conducted at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital found use of the program reduced medication error rates by 55 percent.

According to the American Journal of Managed Care, there are 1339 hospitals throughout the United States currently making use of this technology. 59 percent of these hospitals report using the technology for inpatient medication orders at least 75 percent of the time.

The technology in use is the Computerized Physician Order Entry program, or CPOE.

More on Computerized Physician Order Entry

Physicians and other medical professionals use the CPOE program to order medications for a patient. The system is then designed to alert the physician or pharmacist of any potentially dangerous drug interactions based on a review of the patient’s current medications as well as any allergy concerns.

When in use, CPOE may also reduce the risk of communication errors between physicians and pharmacists. A common example involves the use of a medication that may have a name which sounds similar to another medication.

The American Journal of Managed Care notes that consistent use of this system could significantly reduce the occurrence of medication errors. Approximately 90 percent of errors occur when orders are manually written or transcribed. Having a physician directly input the information could eliminate this risk.

More on medication errors and a medical malpractice claim

A malpractice claim may exist if a medical professional was negligent in the prescription of a medication. Physicians, pharmacists or other medical professionals that do not ensure a prescribed medication is safe for a patient could be liable. In these instances, the victim may be eligible to receive compensation to help cover the high cost of additional medical care, rehabilitation and lost wages as well as potential pain and suffering awards.

Those who are injured or the loved ones of those who suffer fatal injuries connected to a medication error are wise to seek the counsel of an experienced medication error and medical negligence lawyer. This legal professional will review the details of your case and advocate for your rights, working to better ensure you receive the compensation you are entitled to.