Medication Errors and Medical Negligence: 6 Facts You Should Know (Pt. 1)
September 13, 2014
While medical negligence and malpractice can manifest in various ways, one of the most dangerous and prevalent ways it has appeared in medical facilities throughout the U.S. is in the form of medication errors. Because more than 80 percent of Americans reportedly take at least one medication (and nearly 30 percent take at least 5 different medications), understanding how and when medication errors occur – as well as what can be done to prevent them – is critical to minimizing the severe damage tha this type of medical negligence can cause.
In this blog series, we will point out some important facts to know about the prevalence and impacts of medication errors in the U.S. If you or someone you love has been hurt as a result of medication errors, don’t hesitate to contact the Portland medical malpractice lawyers at the Savage Law Firm for a professional case evaluation and expert advice regarding what you can do to obtain the compensation you likely deserve.
Here’s What You Should Know about Medication Errors in the U.S.
Fact 1 – More than 1.5 million Americans are injured as a result of medication errors each year.
In fact, according to research published by American Nurse Today and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- Every day in the U.S. at least one medication error takes place per hospital patient.
- Medication errors are the number one cause of inpatient fatalities.
- While about 20 percent of medication errors that impact critical care patients result in life-threatening injuries and complications, more than 40 percent of these errors require complicated life-sustaining treatments.
- Every year in the U.S., medication errors end up costing about $3.5 billion in additional medical expenses, lost productivity and lost wages.
The bottom line here is that medication errors in the U.S. often result in life-threatening complications and that they have significant economic impacts.
Fact 2 – Nearly 1 in every 3 medication errors occurs during the administration of medications.
The process of administering medication to patients is complicated and involves multiple steps, only some of which include:
- Properly diagnosing patients
- Appropriately prescribing medications to patients
- Correctly transcribing and dispensing prescriptions to patients
- Carefully administering medications to patients
- Continual monitoring of patients’ response and health.
At any point in this process, human carelessness or negligence can result in serious medication errors. While some of these potential mistakes are caught by medical professionals – like pharmacists or nurses – before they end up impacting patients, unfortunately:
- About 30 percent of all medication errors in the U.S. take place as medication is being given to patients.
- Too many medication errors are never intercepted, which ultimately results in patients being injured.
We will resume our discussion of medication errors in the U.S. in a few upcoming installments of this blog series – be sure to check them out!
Portland Medical Malpractice Lawyers at the Savage Law Firm
Have you been injured due to medication errors that may have been caused by medical negligence? If so, it’s time to contact the Portland medical malpractice attorneys at the Savage Law Firm. Our team of trusted lawyers has been successfully resolving various types of malpractice cases over the past three decades, and we are ready to put our experience, legal knowledge and resources to work for you.
To learn more about our legal services and what we can do for you, call us at 503-222-0200 (in Portland) or at 206-957-7272 (in Seattle). You can also email us using the form on this page.
We represent clients in communities in both Oregon and Washington from our offices in Portland and Seattle.