As Indiana medical malpractice lawyers, we are always looking for ways that patients can protect themselves from medication errors. We came across this simple checklist that a patient can use to take the right medication and the right dosage of medication.
The list outlines three “checkpoints” at which errors can be caught and rectified.
The first checkpoint is at the doctor’s office when you receive your prescription. Make sure that the doctor or nurse informs you of the:
• Drug name • Strength
• Dosage procedure • Why you need the medicine • What the medication will do • How quickly you will see results
Remember those drugs are going into your system, and ultimately will affect your health. You have every right as a patient to demand information, and your doctor has every duty to provide the information you need.
The second checkpoint is at your pharmacy. To avoid an error here, read the descriptive insert that tells you all you need to know about the dosage and administration procedure. If the medication is a pill, tablet or capsule, the insert may describe its shape, color and markings. Open the medicine bottle and compare what’s inside to the description. If you are getting a refill, ask for the pharmacist if there is new information on side effects that’s come out since the last time you had a refill. Also, if you are taking any other medications, counsel with the pharmacist about possible drug interactions.
As a patient and the consumer of the medication, you are the last and final checkpoint. Read the label and insert carefully. You have to know what the medication is intended for, dosage amount and procedure.
Medication errors are some of the most frequent medical errors, and also some of the most preventable ones. Every year, approximately 1.3 million people nationwide are injured from these mistakes. Most of the errors will be minor ones that may not leave patents with lasting ill effects. However, many others can result in serious health complications. This checklist allows you to be an educated and informed patient who can look out for himself/ herself.
As Indiana medical malpractice lawyers, we often see patients being lulled into a false sense of security by a doctor’s high qualifications, the nurse’s knowledgeable manner or the pharmacist’s efficiency. It is important to remember that, every year, many of these healthcare professionals are involved in making serious errors in medication. By being informed and aware, you can prevent medication injuries and save yourself a lot of anguish.