Medication errors happen so easily. Fatigued doctors write down dosages with a decimal point in the wrong place. Distracted pharmacists pick up the wrong bottle by mistake when filling a prescription. A harried nurse delivers medication meant for Patient A to Patient B, instead.
The consequences, of course, can be devastating – and medication errors are distressingly common. For example, it’s estimated that one out of every five medication doses administered in the hospital is likely done in error.
So, what can you do to make yourself safer? Here are some tips:
Make sure that you know your medications.
You need to know both the brand name and generic name of your medication, just so that you are certain what you’ve received. You should also know your dosage. When you pick up your prescriptions from the pharmacist, make sure that the labels have the drug name and dosage you expect.
Look carefully at everything before you take it.
You should be familiar with the shape, size and color of your pills. When you open a new bottle, make sure that the pill looks the way it normally does. If a pill suddenly looks different, don’t take it until you’ve spoken to the pharmacist. It’s possible there was merely a formulary change, but it’s also possible the wrong medication got into your bottle.
The medical industry has been under some intense pressure over the last few years, and the fatigue is showing. If you or your loved one has been victimized by a medical mistake, find out more about your legal options.