One-third of adults in the United States take 5 or more medications daily, and there are over 10,000 prescription medications from which clinicians can choose, all of which have their own dosages, instructions, and routes of administration.
Medication errors, sometimes called adverse drug events, are one of the most common preventable medical mistakes in all medical care settings. They occur in both the outpatient and inpatient setting as well as during the transition from inpatient to outpatient.
Medication errors are estimated to account for 700,000 emergency department visits and 100,000 hospitalizations each year. In addition, a staggering 5% of hospitalized patients experience a medication error. Medication errors are likewise common in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
While most hospitals, long-term care facilities, pharmacies and physician offices have the required policies in place to avoid medication errors, these errors continue to happen because of system flaws, failure to follow proper safety procedures, human error, and poor safety culture.
Medication errors generally fall into four categories: Ordering, Transcribing, Dispensing, and Administration.
The wrong medication delivered in the wrong way can have devastating consequences – including injury or death. Medication errors can also result in overdosages, under dosages, allergic reactions, or a number of other avoidable, unintended consequences.
For example, in the DiTore case, a surgeon injected a young woman undergoing routine sinus surgery with the wrong drug because the nurse had mixed up the drugs and the doctor and patient care team had failed to follow safety protocols involving communication and drug labeling designed to prevent such mix-ups. The patient went into cardiac arrest and suffered permanent brain damage.
Andy Youman represented the family in the resulting Montgomery County case, and he won a $5.1 million jury verdict for the family.
It is important to find an attorney who understands how medication processes work in various settings and who knows the right questions to ask in medication error cases. The attorneys at Youman & Caputo have significant experience in these cases – and the results to show for it. If you or someone you know has suffered a medication error in Philadelphia, contact us today for a free consultation.