Medication errors can lead to debilitating conditions or even death. If you or a loved one has been harmed as a result of a medication error in Hawaii, you should bring this to the attention of a medical malpractice lawyer to learn more about your options for filing a claim against those responsible.
Common Medication Errors
According to the American Hospital Association (AHA), common medication errors include the following:
- lack of patient information concerning allergies, lab results, previous diagnoses and other prescription or over-the-counter medication they might be taking;
- lack of complete information about the drug, such as warnings and side effects;
- miscommunication among healthcare providers resulting from poor handwriting, confusion regarding drugs with similar names, misplaced decimal points and zeroes, ignorance of the metric dosing system and confusing abbreviations;
- failure to appropriately label a drug; and
- bad lighting, noises and other interruptions that could distract a healthcare professional while they administer medication.
For example, consider the drug digoxin, a widely used heart medication. A misplaced decimal point could lead to a medication error in which the patient consumes toxic levels of this drug. As a result, their heart rate could plummet. Toxicity could also occur if the patient has kidney failure or if they take any other medications known to adversely affect a patient taking digoxin.
As the victim of a medication error caused by a healthcare provider’s negligence, you may be able to file a medical malpractice claim with the assistance of a Honolulu medical malpractice lawyer.
5 Rights When Administering Medication
The sad thing about medication errors, which commonly occur in doctor’s offices, pharmacies and hospitals, is that they can be prevented through effective communication.
Many healthcare providers follow what is considered the 5 Rights when administering medication, including the right patient, medication, dose, administration time and administration route.
A healthcare provider should check all 5 of these rights 3 times in an effort to avoid medication errors. Despite this, it is estimated that medication errors still injure more than 1 million people annually in the United States. Injuries arising from medication errors include a worsened condition, allergies, organ damage, mental impairment and death.
Parties that could be liable for your medication error include your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, pharmaceutical company or hospital. A Honolulu medical malpractice lawyer can help you gather the necessary evidence to file a claim if a healthcare provider’s negligence led your medication error.
Statute of Limitations on Medical Malpractice Claims
It would be in your best interest to consult with a Honolulu medical malpractice lawyer as early as possible because the deadline for filing a medical malpractice claim in Hawaii is typically 2 years.