Nearly one in three adults in America are on five or more medications. So with all those millions and millions of medicines out there, it’s no wonder that errors are made in their prescription and filling.
Medication errors can arise anywhere in the process of distribution and implementation. Generally, these errors fall into one of five areas: prescribing, repackaging, dispensing, administering, or monitoring.
If you or someone you know has been hospitalized or has otherwise suffered as a result of a medication error, contact the Chris J. Roy, Jr. Law Firm today. We can explain your options and provide the experienced representation you need to achieve the best results. Contact us online or call us at 318.487.9537 to set up your free consultation.
Types of Adverse Drug Events (ADEs)
An ADE is defined as “harm experienced by a patient as a result of exposure to a medication.” There are a wide variety of ADEs. Just because you or a loved one may have suffered from an ADE does not necessarily mean that an error occurred or that you received poor quality of care. But when a medical professional’s negligence caused a medication to harm you, our Louisiana personal injury law firm can help.
An ADE can occur at any point of the distribution process. The cause can be as simple as a pharmacist mixing up two medications that look similar or that have names that sound alike. Some of the more common causes of medication errors include poor communication, ambiguous product names, poorly written directions for use, poor procedures or techniques, and a patient’s misuse because of misunderstanding.
There are several specified types of ADEs:
Preventable ADEs arise from a medication error that reaches the patient and causes some form of harm.
Potential ADEs do not cause harm, even though an error was made. This could be because the error was realized before it reached the patient, or it may simply be because of luck.
Ameliorable ADEs come from a medication error that reaches the patient, but in which most or all of the harm incurred can be mitigated.
Nonpreventable ADEs (also known as adverse drug reaction) are events, such as an allergic reaction to medication, that could not have been foreseen.
Causes of ADEs
Medication errors can take place anywhere in the process, and for many reasons. Many errors come as a result of mislabeling, incorrect prescription, or mistakes in distribution.
Incorrect usage, whether on the part of a patient or on the part of a responsible party (such as a nurse), is another major contributing factor in ADEs. More than 50 percent of emergency room visits for ADEs in Medicare patients can be traced to incorrect usage of four medications: insulin, warfarin, antiplatelet agents, and opioid pain medications.
Some high-risk medications used in an inpatient setting can be dangerous if dosed incorrectly. Heparin, for example, is an anticoagulant that could cause adverse effects if the dose is not right. A dose that is too high could lead to complications of bleeding, while an insufficient dose will not have the desired effect. Medication errors with drugs like heparin can come as a result of incorrect dosing or incorrect administration of the drug, with dangerous results.
How Can Doctors (and Patients) Prevent ADEs?
Many options are available to prevent ADEs. Unfortunately, most of these fall on the shoulders of doctors and distributors, making it difficult for patients to be proactive in avoiding ADEs.
One step you can take is to double-check your label and your medication when you go to the pharmacy. Some ADEs are the result of the wrong medication’s being dispensed—whether as a consequence of illegible handwriting, similar looking or similar sounding medications, or a number of other reasons, such as overworked pharmacists in under-staffed stores. ADEs can be avoided through increased attention and vigilance by doctors, pharmacists, and patients alike.
Injured? Contact Us.
The Chris J. Roy, Jr. Law Firm, operating out of offices in Alexandria, Louisiana, has been proud to serve their community for nearly 30 years. We have the resources to handle the large cases but the compassion to treat clients like the individuals they are. With their knowledge and experience in a variety of situations, the Chris J. Roy, Jr. Law Firm can help you with all your legal needs. For answers to your questions or to set up a consultation, contact us online or call us at 318.487.9537.
Third generation attorney serving Central Louisiana for 30 years. Let our experience help you.