Columbus Medication Error Attorneys
Medication errors continue to happen all too often in Ohio’s nursing homes and hospitals. Usually, when a medication error occurs, it is a direct result of physicians prescribing incorrect medication, an incorrect dosage, or an error in the medication’s administration. Often, these errors are commonly trivial. However, it is important to detect and report these errors, since these failures that result in minor errors could lead to serious errors. When medication errors are serious, and sometimes fatal, Rinehardt Law Firm is here to take your side and bring justice to the responsible party.
The National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention (NCCMERP) defines a medication error as “any preventable event that may cause of lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the health care professional. Such events may be related to professional practice, health care products, procedures, prescribing, order communication, product labeling, packaging, nomenclature, compounding, dispensing, distribution, administration, monitoring, and use.” In short, a medication error is a failure anywhere in the treatment process that has the potential to lead to harm to the recipient of the medication.
Each year, the number of people taking medications continues to grow exponentially, which means that the opportunity for medication errors also grows. A study by the Institute of Medicine found that up to 98,000 people die annually due to preventable medication errors. At long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes, there are up to 800,000 adverse drug events (unwanted physical or psychological effects due to preventable medication errors) per year. When medication errors are made, it is commonly due to physicians failing to take complete medical histories of patients, writing sloppy and illegible medication orders, or mislabeling medication.
Like pharmacy errors, there are multiple categories of medication errors. The first is “knowledge-based error”, for example, giving penicillin, without having established whether the patient is allergic. This is easily preventable by simply taking the time to be well informed about the drug being prescribed and the patient to whom it is given. The next is “rule-based errors” such as a nurse or caregiver applying a medication to the upper arm, rather than the lateral thigh, and this can be prevented by proper rules and education systems in care facilities. There is also “action-based errors” or “slips”—which would include accidentally grabbing a bottle of diazepam off of the pharmacy or hospital shelf, rather than diltiazem. This is the area in which most medication errors occur, and this is also the area that proves hardest to prevent. QJM: An International Journal of Medicine recommends minimizing these errors by avoiding distractions, cross-checking, and using identifiers such as bar-codes. Finally, there is also “memory-based errors”, for example, giving a medication, knowing that the patient is allergic, but simply forgetting. These are also hard to avoid, but can be intercepted by cross-checking along with the assistance of computerized prescribing systems. After discovering a medication error that leads to a patient injury or death, it is important to determine the source of the error; the laws that apply to different circumstances could significantly affect the outcome of your case.
At the first signs of a possible adverse reaction to a medication, the patient should seek immediate medical attention. A patient may be reacting to a medication error if s/he has a rash, change in heart rate, change in mental state, hearing or vision changes, seizures, anaphylaxis, diarrhea, or fever. However, unfortunately, due to under-staffing, lack of adequate facilities, or insufficient training, many medication errors are overlooked. Sometimes, there may be multiple reasons why a medication error occurred. The Columbus medication error lawyers at Rinehardt Law Firm will research your claims and will continuously take your side in battling for rightful compensation. Contact us at (419) 529-2020 for a free consultation with one of our experienced lawyers.
Rinehardt Law Firm is the answer to your personal injury. Our team of attorneys and case managers have represented clients in in Columbus and throughout central and north central Ohio for years. We treat every new client as if they were part of our family by providing clear communication, building a strong relationship, and using our experience to provide legal guidance that’s in their best interests. We offer free consultations with no obligation, so don’t hesitate to contact our team about your legal matter.