The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it receives more than 100,000 reports of medication errors each year. Residents of Delaware and other states suffer the consequences, and many have questions about their legal rights. Medication errors occur when a patient in the care of a health care professional is administered inappropriate medication.
Errors can occur at any time during a patient’s treatment. The wrong drug may be prescribed or incorrect information loaded into the computer system or as part of the dispensing process. Consequences of medication errors could include:
- life-threatening situation
- birth defects
There are precautionary steps consumers can take to avoid medication errors. They include the following:
- Ask the doctor what drug is prescribed and what it is for.
- Ask for an explanation of the dosage and directions to take the drugs.
- Ask for storage directions; some medications must be kept in a refrigerator.
- Always check labels before taking medication, especially when taking multiple drugs.
- Do not remove drugs from original containers; look-alike pills could be confusing.
- Keep a list of medications, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements.
- Give a copy of the list to the doctor to avoid adverse interactions between medications.
- Ask about potential interactions between drugs and food.
Anyone in Delaware who is victimized by a medication error may have grounds to pursue a claim for financial relief. However, determining whose negligence caused the error is not always easy. Once formally documented in court, a monetary judgment may be awarded to cover financial losses such as medical expenses and other damages like pain and suffering.