Incorrect medicine dosage is among the most common types of medication errors. When doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies prescribe incorrect dosage to patients, the effects can be devastating. Dosage errors can occur in various medical settings – from intravenous treatment in a hospital or other medical facility to pills prescribed for the patient to take at home. When individuals suffer harm or death from incorrect medicine dosage, these individuals and their loved ones may be entitled to financial compensation for personal injury.
Incorrect Dosage Effects
Depending on the type of medication and the amount of time that the patient takes incorrect dosages of a medication, the effects may be fatal. In cases of underdose, the individual may fail to receive relief of symptoms or fail to be cured of the medical condition. This may allow the condition to progress and become more complicated. In cases of serious and aggressive conditions such as cancer, the patient may lose the critical window of opportunity for correct treatment.
In cases of overdose, the individual may suffer adverse bodily reactions that lead to other medical complications independent of the original condition. Overdose may also lead to complications such as toxicity and poisoning when the medication is present in excessive amounts within the body. Depending on the medication, the type of toxicity that results, and the amount of time before the incorrect dosage complications are addressed and reversed, the patient may experience deadly effects.
Dosage Errors in Seniors
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, nearly half of fatal medication errors occurred in individuals age 60 and older. This may be due to the fact that older individuals are more likely to take several prescription medications at once. Additionally, older individuals may be more susceptible to harmful physical effects caused by incorrect medication dosage.
Types of Dosage Errors
The following are examples of possible medication dosage errors:
- Receiving the correct medicine in the wrong dosage per pill or serving
- Receiving the correct medicine in excessive amounts
- Receiving incorrect dosage instructions for administering the medicine
- When the pharmacy staff misreads or incorrectly enters zeroes or decimal points
- When the pharmacy staff confuses dosing units and metric units
In many cases, human error is the cause of wrong medicine dosage. For example, bad lighting or other unfavorable work environment conditions in a facility may contribute to a pharmacist misreading a doctor’s prescription. Employee fatigue may make doctors or pharmacists more likely to make errors, overlook details, or misinterpret literature. A child may be prescribed adult-strength dosages of a medication if these details are overlooked by physicians or pharmacists.
Preventing Dosage Errors
Patients can help arm themselves by being as involved as possible in the medication prescription process. Before taking a medication, patients should check the labels to ensure that the prescription written on the medication bottle or packaging matches the prescription that was written by the medical practitioner. Patients should also feel comfortable and open to ask their doctors as many questions as needed before they can fully understand their condition and their treatment plan.
Get a Second Opinion
Patients may also wish to conduct some online research to become more familiar with the circumstances surrounding their treatment. This may include their medical condition, the medications typically used to treat these conditions, and typical recommended dosages for these medications. If patients see any discrepancies or have any doubts about their prescription, it is recommended to seek a second opinion from another medical specialist prior to taking the medication.
Seeking a Malpractice Lawyer in Florida
If you or your loved one has experienced an incorrect medicine dosage that was responsible for harm or death, consider seeking a medical malpractice lawyer. In many cases, a medication error lawyer can help victims and their loved ones to recover financial compensation. When seeking a medicine error lawyer, be sure to select one with experience, thorough knowledge, and a proven track record for successful settlement and litigation.
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