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What can cause medication errors?

When Baltimore residents are ill or in need of medical treatment, they rely heavily on their doctors and other care providers. One important tool used by medical providers to address a patient's symptoms is the use of medications, which can be used to treat any number of ailments.

While medications can be very useful to help patients deal with many issues, there can also be a downside to medications when mistakes occur. A medication error can result in very serious injury to the patient, often times even worse than the original condition itself. Making matters worse, these medication errors are often preventable.

The numbers bear out the prevalence of medication errors. According to the Food and Drug Administration, there have been more than 95,000 reports of medication errors received by the agency since the year 2000. Experts estimate these reports actually are much lower than the true numbers, because the reports were voluntary.

The FDA also notes that these medication errors can happen based on many different factors. Doctors' handwriting may be ineligible, for example, which can lead to a miscommunication in the proper dosage of the drug. There can also be confusion relating to drugs that have similar names. In other circumstances, the doctor may simply miscalculate the correct dosage.

No matter what the reason behind the error, the error itself can lead to serious injury. Accordingly, patients should understand their right to bring a medical malpractice action against those responsible, including the doctor or medical professional involved. By bringing the medical malpractice suit, injured patients can hold the doctor responsible for his or her errors, and obtain compensation for the injuries.

Source: United States Food and Drug Administration, "FDA 101: Medication errors," accessed on June 27, 2015

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