How Frequently Do Medication Errors Occur in Florida?
According to an article in Florida Today, medication errors account for 700,000 emergency room visits, 120,000 hospitalizations and 7,000 deaths annually. The reality is that these medication errors hit the elderly population the hardest, and 36 percent of all adverse drug interactions involve seniors.
Florida Today has a few tips for seniors to avoid taking the wrong medications or an incorrect dose:
- Set up pill boxes in the beginning of the week so you know exactly what to take each day with ease.
- Always double check that the prescription is correct with your doctor before taking it to the pharmacy. Then, double check the labels on the pill bottles. Many drug names sound similar.
- Get rid of old or unused medications in a responsible manner; do not keep old pills around the house. (Do not flush them; instead contact your local pharmacy to inquire about a drug disposal program.)
While seniors can do everything in their control to avoid medication errors, sometimes doctors, nurses and hospitals are responsible for an error. There is particular potential for medication errors when a person is being transferred from a hospital or nursing home to another facility. Always double-check with your primary care physician to review the medications when moving to a new facility.
What is the Difference Between a Medication Error and a Side Effect?
Medical malpractice occurs when a hospital or health care provider prescribes an incorrect medication or gives you an incorrect dosage that causes you injury. This is different than having a bad side effect or adverse reaction, however. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to tell whether your injury after medication was caused by a health care professional’s error. In Florida, independent medical experts must verify under oath that they believed malpractice occurred to have a valid claim.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a possible medication error, the Shapiro Law Group investigates these situations to determine whether medical malpractice occurred. We offer no cost, no obligation investigations and consultations to review your case.