Medication errors number in the thousands each year in the American healthcare system. At Lipsig, Shapey, Manus & Moverman, P.C., our medical malpractice attorneys have represented individuals who have suffered greatly due to medication errors, and our lawyers understand the trauma that patients and their families experience when healthcare goes wrong.
Medication errors may cause fatality, coma, brain damage, permanent disability, severe cardiac and respiratory problems, and a host of other serious maladies and health conditions. It’s extremely vexing for a patient and his or her family to be confronted with health problems that are due to a medication error that should never have happened.
More Than 7,000 Deaths Each Year
Every month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) receives about 300 reports of medication errors. This number is probably just a fraction of the total number of medication errors that occur. A 1999 study by the Institute of Medicine estimated that over 7,000 deaths each year in the U.S. are related to medications.
Wrong Dose, Wrong Drug, Improper Administration
The FDA has found that the most common types of medication errors are:
- the administration of the wrong dose of a drug (its strength or its frequency of dosing) - 41%
- the administration of the wrong drug - 16%
- the use of the wrong route of administration for a drug (e.g., intravenous, oral, topical, intramuscular) - 16%
The elderly and children are particularly vulnerable to medication errors; the elderly because of frail health and multiple medication use, and children because their lower body weight/drug dose ratio can be miscalculated.
Many Factors Contribute to Medication Errors
Medication errors can be based on a number of factors, including:
- poor communication among healthcare staff
- handwriting misinterpretation
- drug name confusion
- confusing drug labels and packaging
- lack of healthcare personnel’s knowledge about a drug
- patient lack of understanding about a drug’s directions for use
Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney
Learn more about the legal rights of patients who have been harmed as a result of a medication error: contact the New York medical malpractice lawyers at Lipsig, Shapey, Manus & Moverman today.