More than four billion prescriptions are filled each year in the United States. While we rely on prescription medications to cure diseases, manage chronic health problems and alleviate pain, consumers should know that the very drugs we rely on can also cause irreparable harm. According to the Institute of Medicine, more than 1.7 million preventable adverse drug events (preventable injuries caused by medications) occur in the United States every year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) further reports that these adverse drug events are responsible for more than 700,000 emergency room visits and 120,000 hospitalizations annually. Perhaps more alarming, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reported that medication errors cause at least one death every day, with an estimated 7,000 people killed by adverse medication events on an annual basis. Medication mistakes causing serious harm or death may result from the wrong medication being prescribed, the wrong medication being dispensed, drug interactions, incorrect dosages, dose miscalculations, incorrect administration, similarities between drug packaging and drug appearances, labeling errors and miscommunication due to poor handwriting, medications with similar names, inappropriate abbreviations and other errors.
Though most health care providers, from physicians to pharmacists to support staff, do their best to provide adequate care to patients, it is important to take an active role in ensuring medication safety. Make sure your physician and pharmacist are aware of all the medications you take, including those that are sold over the counter. This will help avoid dangerous drug interactions. Also know what your medication and its packaging should look like to make sure you receive the correct items at the pharmacy counter. Finally, ask your doctor about dosage and administration and make sure the instructions you receive from the pharmacy match those given by your doctor.
Despite everyone’s best efforts, if you believe that you or a loved one has suffered harm as a result of a medication error, it is imperative to contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney for assistance. The best Scranton lawyers of Scartelli Olszewski provide counseling and representation to victims of medication errors, helping them seek the compensation they deserve. Whether the best outcome may be achieved through alternative dispute resolution measures such as arbitration or mediation, or through a state or federal courtroom trial, our personal injury lawyers in PA understand the complex medical and legal issues associated with medication error lawsuits. We strive to maximize recovery for our clients, and to help them get their lives back on track. If you or a loved one has suffered harm as a result of a medication mistake, we encourage you to contact us today