When people in Kentucky take medications prescribed by their doctors, they expect to achieve improved health and reduced symptoms. However, medication errors can be serious and even deadly, and patients may not even realize that they are receiving an incorrect medication or the wrong dose. Many medication safety regulations and guidelines that exist currently do because risks are addressed after a significant incident has shown a vulnerability to these kinds of mistakes.
One source of medication errors can be the entry of incorrect information into a patient’s file or electronic health record. Most medical clinics and hospitals now use EHRs to handle patients’ medical files. However, it can be far too easy for people to have multiple records open at the same time and record the information on the wrong patient’s file. According to one study, at least 14 medication orders are placed each day for the wrong patient in a large hospital with 1,500 beds. The mistakes can be made by prescribing physicians, nurses or even pharmacists. Requiring the person entering the information to confirm or retype the patient’s identification can reduce this type of error significantly.
Electronic records can lead to other types of confusion. This is especially true when a doctor is prescribing medication for use at home. Sometimes, the concentration of a medication can be entered as the patient’s dose in certain electronic records. Thus, a prescription may tell a patient to take 10 pills rather than one pill of 10 milligrams.
Medication errors of different types can lead to serious side effects, drug interactions or other problems that cause severe health complications or even fatalities. When a person’s health condition has worsened as a result of a physician error, he or she may consult with a medical malpractice attorney about the feasibility of pursuing compensation for the damages caused.