Medication errors are a very serious form of medical malpractice. According to statistics provided by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency receives more than 100,000 reports each year about possible medication errors. These reports are filed by consumers, medical professionals, and even drug manufacturers. Studies confirm that people who are in lower socioeconomic status and the elderly are more susceptible to being victims of medication errors.
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These errors can occur by pharmacists, doctors, emergency room staff, hospital staff, and nursing home staff. There are steps that consumers can take to help lower their risk of being a victim of this type of malpractice:
- Always ask questions: When you go to your medical provider with symptoms and he or she makes a diagnosis and treatment plan, do not hesitate to ask your physician questions to ensure you understand the correct dosage and potential side effects of the medication they are prescribing. Make sure that your doctor is aware of any other medications you are taking to eliminate the dangers or any drug interaction.
- Research the medications you have been prescribed: Before you begin taking the medication, take the time to learn about it. Talk to your pharmacist about the drug, even though you have already had these discussions with your doctor. Confirm other medications you are taking and any potential interactions, as well as confirm any side effects. There may be information that your doctor didn’t think to share with you about the mediation that the pharmacist will. The more you know about the medicines you are taking, the better equipped you are at protecting your health.
- Check the prescription labels: Although it is the responsibility of the pharmacy or doctor if your medication is mislabeled, always carefully read the bottle every time you pick up a prescription, not only for new prescriptions, but also for refills. Make sure the name of the drug and the prescribed dosage is the same information as what your doctor discussed with you. If something does not look right, call your doctor right away.
Were You a Victim?
If you discover you have been the victim of a prescription error, make sure to keep the medication. Do not give it back to the pharmacy since this medication may be needed as evidence should there be a lawsuit filed. You will also want to report the error to both the Virginia medical board, as well as the National Mediation Error Reporting Program.
You should also contact a Virginia medical malpractice attorney if you have suffered injuries as a result of the medication error to find out what legal options you may have against the pharmacy which made the prescription error.
The legal team at Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn, has been advocating for victims of malpractice and other injuries for more than 30 years and will work diligently to get you the financial compensation you deserve for the injuries you have suffered.
An experienced personal injury attorney with dual licensure in Virginia and North Carolina, Eric Washburn received a B.B.A. in Finance from James Madison University—initially worked in the information technology field before obtaining his law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan. Once an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney in Danville, Va., Eric has been recognized by Super Lawyers Magazine as a “Rising Star” Super Lawyer in Virginia since 2014.