Approximately 1.5 million preventable adverse drug events happen each year in the United States. Many of these are caused by prescription drug errors. From filing the wrong medication to failing to identify a life-threatening drug allergy, prescription drug errors can cause serious injury – and tragically, even death.
A medication error is any preventable occurrence that could lead to improper medication use or patient harm. This can happen when a doctor prescribes the wrong medication or incorrect dose, or if a pharmacist fills the prescription with the wrong medicine or dose. These type of errors can result in severe health complications including:
- Allergic reactions
- Damage to organs
- Heart failure
Prescription medication errors can have dangerous side effects- especially in situations involving children. Common reasons for prescription medication errors include:
- Failure to adequately screen for incorrect drug reactions
- Failure to check for drug allergies and adverse drug side effects
- Inaccurate labeling
- Incorrectly filling a prescription/using wrong medication
- Filling a prescription for adult dosage rather than pediatric use
- Improper or incomplete instructions regarding usage and warnings
When prescribing a medication with serious side effects, a doctor should contemplate the pros and cons, and fully consider all aspects of the child’s medical history, including the child’s height, weight, and age. Because side effects of medications can vary drastically with the age of the patient, while filling a prescription, the pharmacist has a duty to advise patients about any corresponding side effects of the medication.
Children can also be harmed if the wrong medication is prescribed or administered. Mistakes can be traced to poor handwriting, confusion between drugs with similar names, incorrect use of zeros or decimals, inappropriate abbreviations, or wrong dosage for the age of the patient.
Because prescription medications typically have more extreme side effects than over the counter drugs, it is imperative that doctors prescribe the appropriate medication, and that the pharmacist fills it properly.
Doctor and Pharmacists’ Duty to Use Reasonable Care to Protect Children
Pharmacists and physicians have a duty to use reasonable care in prescribing and filling prescription drugs. If that duty is violated, severe injuries and death can occur. Furthermore, the growing number of prescription drugs and multiple drug providers can heighten the likelihood of medication errors.
Sadly, children are especially vulnerable to medication errors. Their smaller bodies are more susceptible to overdoses and adverse side effects. Additionally, children may be at increased risk of pharmaceutical errors because they might be unable to read or fully comprehend medication labels and warnings without adult supervision.
Contact Washington DC Child Injury Lawyers
At Patrick Malone & Associates, our child injury lawyers have extensive experience representing injured children and families in Washington, DC metro area, Virginia, and throughout the State of Maryland. If your child has sustained a serious injury after a prescription drug error, we can help. Call us at 1-202-742-1500 or 1-888-625-6635 or fill out our confidential contact form for a FREE Consultation and review of your case.
The child injury attorneys at Patrick Malone & Associates have successfully represented injured individuals in Washington, DC, Arlington, Alexandria, Annapolis, Rockville, Baltimore, Richmond, Fairfax, Maryland, and throughout Virginia.