METAIRIE and NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana. When it comes to prescription medications, a simple error of a decimal point can be the margin between life and death. All it takes is an additional zero to turn a safe dose to a deadly one for some medications. Many medical malpractice errors are the result of prescription mistakes. The Bowling Law Firm sees cases where a simple prescription error has led to serious illness, injury, and losses for families. So, what can families do to protect themselves?
According to Mayo Clinic, there are several things individuals can do to prevent and detect prescription errors before they become deadly. Medication errors often happen because patients either don’t communicate the list of medications they are taking to their doctors, or patients don’t fully understand what doses they are required to take. Some drugs can have harmful complications when mixed with over the counter medicines. Patients need to understand possible interactions so that they can avoid them.
The best way to prevent medication overdoses is to understand the medication you are taking and understand possible interactions. Know your doses, understand which drugs can cause deadly interactions, and always check the dose when you pick up your prescription at the pharmacy. Ask your doctors what drugs, or activities you should avoid while taking the medication. Some medication interacts poorly with food, other medication interacts poorly with alcohol.
Common mistakes patients make include confusing ear drops for eye drops, chewing medication that should be swallowed, or cutting pills that should not be cut. Some pills need to be absorbed slowly, while others are coated to avoid hurting the stomach. Patients should keep a list of medications they are taking handy and always ask their doctor to make sure the physician is up-to-date on what medications are being taken.
Finally, according to Forbes, doctors and hospitals also have a responsibility to check and double check medications. Some doctors and hospitals have better procedures in place than others. Talk to your doctors and hospital providers about what measures are in place to prevent deadly errors. Another place where medical malpractice prescription errors can occur is in nursing homes. Speak to nursing home staff to evaluate how medicines are tracked. How are errors handled if they take place? Does family get informed?
Unfortunately, families are not always informed when prescription errors occur in nursing homes or hospitals. Doctors and nursing homes have a vested interest in keeping this information from family, as this information can lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit. However, if your loved one is experiencing longer recovery times than expected, or experiences complications, you may want to ask questions to see if medicine errors may be to blame.
In the best of cases, quality medical care is a team effort between families, patients, and doctors. When the lines of communication are closed, errors and injuries can happen. The Bowling Law Firm are compassionate and qualified medical malpractice attorneys in Metairie and New Orleans. If you believe your loved one was injured due to an improper dose or prescription error, we may be able to help.

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