Medication errors, whether the result of pharmacy errors or medical malpractice represent a significant portion of the preventable medical errors that take place every year in Florida and throughout the U.S.
It was ten years ago that the Institute of Medicine (IOM) declared that as many as 98,000 people die each year needlessly because of “preventable medical harm and errors.” A decade later, it is debatable whether any real progress has been made to reduce these errors and the harm that they can cause. Consumers Union, the non-profit publisher of Consumer Reports, issued a report in May 2009 indicating that preventable medical harm still accounts for more than 100,000 deaths each year. The report gave the country a failing grade on the progress that has been made in implementing the recommendations from the IOM study that it believes are necessary to create a health-care system that is free of preventable medical errors.
The Consumer Union report reveals that few hospitals have adopted well-known systems to prevent medication errors, and the FDA rarely intervenes.
Some medication errors are caused by similar drug names, packaging and design. Confusion between primidone and prednisone caused the death of an adolescent in 2004, and a report from 2008 indicated that prednisone is commonly confused with 12 other drugs. In 2007, the twin babies of actor Dennis Quaid and his wife were given 1,000 times the prescribed dose of the blood thinner heparin, which was packaged in similar vials with blue labels as those used by the manufacturer for its pediatric dosage, according to the Quaids’ lawsuit and testimony before Congress.
The drug prescription and dispensation process has also proven to be flawed. Existing technologies such as Computerized Physician Order Entry to write prescriptions and the Bar-Code Medication Administration system to help ensure that patients receive the correct medication are estimated to cut drug errors in half or more. These systems have not been widely adopted by hospitals, doctors or pharmacies, and errors that could be easily prevented continue to take place every day throughout the country. Last month, an error in a label of a prescription filled by a CVS pharmacy in Hyannis, Mass., almost resulted in a 10 month-old girl receiving five times the prescribed dose of an antibiotic.
The potentially tragic mistake was averted by the girl’s mother, who caught the error thanks to her cautious nature and her training as a professional nanny.
The Miami injury lawyers of Hannon Legal Group have handled numerous cases involving serious injuries and even deaths caused by medication errors in hospitals and pharmacies. We understand that injuries resulting from drug errors can take a significant toll on the health and wellbeing of patients. Our attorneys have successfully recovered millions of dollars for Florida individuals and families who have been affected by these errors caused by negligent healthcare providers.
If you or a family member has been affected by a medication error caused by a pharmacy, hospital or doctor, contact our Miami medication error lawyers today for a free consultation. Call us at (866) 835-6872.