At the Law Offices of Judy Greenwood, P.C., we represent victims who have been injured as a result of medical malpractice, including injuries arising from medication and pharmaceutical errors and mistakes. Because these cases are often complex, we have access to pharmacy, medical, nursing, and other experts as well as a doctor/lawyer available to review the facts of your case, and to provide the medical insight necessary to determine if there was negligence or substandard care.
The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (a non‑profit, independent organization) recently concluded that medication errors harm at least 1.5 million patients annually, at a cost of at least $3.5 billion annually in additional medical expenses to try to repair the harm caused by these hospital errors. These figures do not include emotional loss and physical pain, nor do they include the wage losses or other additional health costs associated with these serious mistakes.
The Institute reported that there were 400,000 preventable drug related hospital injuries annually, and twice as many at long term care facilities. It reports another 530,000 injuries among senior citizens at out‑patient clinics, and believes these statistics understate the scope of the problem.
Medication errors largely are preventable because so many are caused by: communication errors; illegible handwriting causing mistakes identifying the medicine, the quantity prescribed, or the administration rate; and verbal misstatements of the name of a drug, or a pharmacist incorrectly hearing what was ordered or requested.
With electronic prescriptions and bar code scanning devices, many hospitals and medical professionals are optimistic that the majority of these communication errors, as well as others, will be eliminated. These types of technology will help to avoid handwriting errors, reduce misunderstandings regarding the identification of the medicine, and will allow physicians and nurses to be notified promptly about patient allergies and drug interaction concerns. Separate efforts to standardize the naming of medicines to eliminate similarly sounding names, if successful, will help.
Yet even with the assistance of technology, human error by pharmacists, nurses, and doctors, such as: programming mistakes in the use of patient controlled analgesia (pain killers) pumps (PCA devices), or in failing to follow safety precautions in the dispensing, retrieval, and administration of medications, will continue to occur, both inside hospitals and outpatient in doctor offices and other medical settings. When it does, there can be serious consequences, including death.
The Law Offices of Judy Greenwood, P.C., has successfully represented patients who were injured because of a medication error or mistake.