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To Err Is Human: Prescription Drug Errors

Medical errors occur when a doctor or a nurse makes a mistake in treating a patient. Some medical errors are "hands-on" mistakes, such as a botched surgery. However, those are not the only kinds of mistakes made while treating patients. With the increase in the amount of drugs available to treat every conceivable illness, a problem that is becoming more common is prescription errors.

Errors in a patient's prescription, vaguely referred to as "adverse drug events," are more common than you might think. Studies have shown that doctors, on average, make 4 mistakes for every 1,000 prescriptions written. Although 250 to 1 odds might sound like a longshot, those odds mean that many of us will be victims of prescription errors at some time during our lives.

Many prescription errors cause no lasting harm, but some such errors lead to a serious illness or death. The injuries caused by incorrect prescriptions result in patients having to stay in the hospital for a longer period of time and also cause thousands of dollars of unnecessary medical bills, not to mention the pain and suffering inflicted on a patient.

Although the stereotype is that doctors have terrible handwriting, the most common cause of prescription errors is the doctors' failure to educate themselves about the medicines being prescribed. Common prescription errors include: (1) failing to adjust the medication dosage to reflect changes in the patient's condition; (2) prescribing a drug that the patient's medical history shows he or she is allergic to; (3) prescribing a dosage that is too large or too small; or (4) writing the name of the wrong drug down on the prescription pad (believe it or not).

Doctors aren't the only culprits; pharmacists can also commit prescription errors by providing the patient with the wrong drug, the wrong dosage, or the wrong instructions for taking the drug, even if the doctor's prescription was correct.

If you suspect that you or someone you know has been the victim of a prescription error, contact us. We will look into the circumstances and help you determine what your options are under the law.

This website is not intended to constitute legal advice or the provision of legal services. By posting and/or maintaining the website and its contents, Lucas Law does not intend to solicit business from clients located in states or jurisdictions outside of Illinois wherein Lucas Law or its individual attorney(s) are not licensed or authorized to practice law.

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