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How do prescription errors happen?

Prescription errors can cause serious health problems for patients. Understanding why these mistakes occur is important for anyone struggling after an instance of medical malpractice.

Various factors contribute to prescription errors, some of which may seem less obvious than others.

Communication breakdown

Communication between doctors, nurses and pharmacists must be clear. Sometimes, handwritten prescriptions are hard to read, leading to mistakes. Also, doctors might use abbreviations that others do not understand. These issues can result in the wrong medicine or dosage for a patient.

Lack of knowledge

Medical professionals need to stay updated on the latest medications and treatments. Sometimes, they may not know enough about a new drug. This lack of knowledge can lead to incorrect prescriptions.

Additionally, they might not be aware of potential drug interactions. This can be dangerous if a patient is taking multiple medications at once.

Similar drug names

Many medications have names that look or sound alike. This can be confusing, especially when doctors and pharmacists are busy.

For example, a doctor might prescribe a drug with a name similar to another drug. The pharmacist could then give out the wrong medication. Patients might not notice the mistake until they experience unexpected side effects.

Computer errors

Many healthcare providers use electronic systems to manage prescriptions. While these systems reduce some errors, they create others. Typing mistakes can lead to incorrect information or numbers in the system.

Software glitches might also lead to doctors saving bad data or sending inaccurate information right to the pharmacy. These errors can result in patients receiving the wrong medication or dosage.

Fatigue and workload

Doctors, nurses and pharmacists often work long hours and fatigue can impair their ability to concentrate. High workloads often lead to rushed decisions and oversight. When medical professionals feel tired or overworked, they are more likely to make mistakes. These conditions increase the risk of prescription errors.

By addressing these factors, the healthcare system can better protect patients from medication mistakes. Any person facing an injury following a prescription error may want to seek fair compensation.