What To Do In Case Of Wrongful Death Or Injury Due To Prescription Error?

What can be worse than seeing your loved one going through a medical course with the hope of recovering and healing soon or use the medication to stop the pain and suffering but instead face death or get an injury? Yes, it happens when doctors prescribe the wrong amount or the type of medication. In spite of medical school education and other precautions and protections, this is still done by the doctors. The prescription error is one major kind of medical malpractice in which the doctor does not take care at the standard level to his/her patients. These types of medical illnesses or injuries are possible to compensate.

According to NCCMERP (National Coordination Council for Medication Error and Prevention) error in medication is an escapable event which as a result harms the patient or leads to using medication inappropriately, while the patient, health care specialists or other consumer has control over the medicine. NCCMERP also say that the events related to the professional practice, health care procedures, and products. Error events occur in many cases which are but not confined to dispensing the item, prescribing a product or drug, distribution of the product or a drug, product packaging and labeling and as well as the education related to product and monitoring its usage.

Reasons Why Prescription Errors Occur

The preventable prescription errors occur when the medication for ordering and the prescribing system is not used appropriately.

  • Handwritten prescription which is illegible is one big cause of the error.
  • When the information is missing or not enough about the relationship of the past response of dose, allergic sensitivities, co-prescribed medications, and laboratory values.
  • Selecting incorrect dose or drug may result in error occurrence, or when treatment schedule is too complex.
  • Communicating the prescription information orally because the error may also cause due to the medications which sound similar.
  • Dispense the drug incorrectly which look similar when the prescriptions are written by hand.
  • One other reason of the error is when the prescription is never filled by the patient or transmitted to the pharmacy.
  • Medications sampling by the physicians can also be added to the medication errors due to unsatisfactory reviewing the drug utilization and inadequate documentation.

How The Errors In The Medication Occur

Errors that occur may be identified or corrected potentially earlier to the administration of patient medication. There are three dispensing errors which are common:

  • Dispensing the medication that is incorrect
  • Dosage form or strength
  • Calculating a dose incorrect.
  • Wrong identification of drug contraindications and interactions.

Most drug administration errors are caused by the patients or health care providers. Communication is the significant problem in the drug administration. Patients are usually unaware of the errors that happen and do not actively play role in understanding all the things communicated to them. Mostly the errors occur due to unclear communication regarding drug appearance and name, why the drug is given to the patient, how often and how to take it, course duration of drug, best time to take drug, occurrence of common side effects, interactions with the other foods and drugs, and instructions about missed dose.

Over-the-counter drugs may result in medication errors because of not properly reading or understand the labels. All the above errors are primarily commissioned errors. But there are omissions errors also, like fail in administering the prescribed drug and also not administer it in a timely manner. To detect through the systematic reporting tools is much more difficult, through the process improvement efforts, the omission errors are addressed to improve the safety of the patient in a comprehensive way.

Effects Of Prescription Errors

There are nearly 700,000 visits to emergency department every year due to the adversative drug events and approximately 120,000 patients are hospitalized each year for the further cure. The adversative drug events risk increase due to the more medicines is taken by the people. With age, typically people take more medicines. Older patients (65 or above) have twice the chance of coming to the emergency departments because of adversative drug events and likely to be hospitalized approx. seven times after the emergency visit.

Prescription Drug Attorneys in Orlando

It is difficult to prove your injury or death of your loved one or you due to the prescription error. The best possible way is to hire an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Percy Martinez Law Firm has highly experienced attorneys in determining and proving a drug prescription responsible for the injury or death.

Nursing Home Negligence

Falls in Nursing Homes

Litigators who work with cases involving long term care know how significant the issue of falls can be. Falls are the leading cause of injury and death by injury in adults over 65. Approximately half of the 1.6 million nursing home residents in the U.S. fall each year, and a report by the Office of the Inspector General found that about 10% of Medicare skilled nursing residents experience a fall resulting in significant injury; and, more than 1/3 of hospital falls result in injury. In the rehab setting, rates are often higher – for example, fall rates among stroke patients have been shown to be very high. Immobility and falls can lead to poor outcomes.

Fear of falling is defined as a geriatric syndrome. It not only occurs in older adults who have fallen, but in those with impaired mobility and is associated with decreased physical ability and depression. Care of older adults requires that clinicians be aware of the myriad of issues related to falls including knowledge of this syndrome, increased risk and interventions needed to prevent injury related to falls.

Just about every resident in a long term care setting, including assisted living and sub-acute rehab, is at risk for falling. Between medications, functional and medical issues and advancing age, older adults in most settings are prone to falling.

There are well established standards of care related to fall prevention; but, as I continue to review records related to issues like falls, I am amazed at how often these basic standards are not being practiced. The basics of a fall prevention program include assessment and ongoing reassessment of risk, ensuring a safe environment, medication review, providing therapy as needed, individualized interventions, and staff education.

Basic nursing practice includes assessment, planning (Care plan), putting interventions in place and then evaluating outcomes to determine if those interventions are appropriate and effective. Assessment includes completing fall risk assessments on admission and then as needed. Very often, the fall risk assessments completed by nurses in LTC are inaccurate. The tools utilized in long term care typically include these risk factors: history of falling, use of ambulatory aids, gait/balance issues, medications, secondary diagnoses (i.e. diabetes) and mental status. Care planning is the next step in nursing care - it is the standard of care that as the resident’s status changes, assessments and care plans must be updated, and often, are not. For example, with each fall, there should be updates, or if there is a new diagnosis, i.e. stroke, or worsening dementia, updated interventions should be put into place, with ongoing evaluation of effectiveness.

Care planning and interventions very often are generic and not individualized. For example, a toileting schedule that includes only after meals and before bedtime may not be appropriate. If a resident has issues with constipation or incontinence, this may lead to the need for more frequent toileting to prevent falls. The “make certain call bell is within reach” for residents with dementia is an example of a generic intervention. Older adults with dementia may not recognize a call bell or remember to use it. The debate about use of bed and chair alarms go on – they are a part of an individualized care plan, not a solution to preventing falls. Often, I see delays in putting interventions in place, i.e. with the resident who is incontinent NOT being put on a toileting plan immediately. The other common issue I see when reviewing records is the lack of updating care plans as the resident’s status changes – with every fall, with worsening dementia, physical decline, or new medical diagnosis (i.e. Parkinsonism).

Nurses reviewing records need to pay attention to the MDS, risk assessments, care plans and Interdisciplinary notes with attention to where the standard of care is not being met.
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5 days ago  ·  

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