One study revealed that approximately 1.3 million Americans are injured every year due to medication errors. These errors can happen as a result of a mistake on the part of the prescribing doctor, the pharmacist or even the patient. To help reduce the number of medication errors that happen in the state of West Virginia each year, the public needs to be informed about the most common causes of these errors.
A look at the common causes of medication errors
Medical malpractice cases due to medication errors can have many similar causes. The most common cause of medication errors is the improper dosage of the medication. It accounted for 41% of all fatal medication errors between the years 1993 and 1998. The second most common cause of medication errors was patients being given the wrong medication.
Through the study, it was determined that half of all the fatal medication errors that occurred happened to those over the age of 60 years old. It’s very common for people over the age of 60 to take multiple medications on a regular basis. This increases the risk of falling victim to a medication error at some point.
Tips for preventing medication errors
As a patient, there are a couple of things that you can do to help reduce your risk of these types of errors. You’ll want to ask your doctor what the name of the prescription is, the dosage you’re supposed to be taking and what the medication is treating. When you get to the pharmacy, it’s advisable to verify all this same information with the pharmacist to ensure that you’re getting the right drug in the correct dosage.
There are many different parties who might be responsible for medication issues, including doctors, pharmacists and patients. Every party needs to do their part to help reduce the number of medication errors that occur.