Medication errors and medical malpractice

Medication Errors

According to government research reported in the Arizona media and elsewhere, electronic prescriptions can prevent a fair number of medication errors, and therefore hopefully reduce the worrisome prevalence of medical malpractice claims. Still, errors in prescriptions and other medical blunders, both for inpatients and outpatients, continue to affect families in Tucson and throughout Arizona.

Tucson-area hospitals have a well-deserved national reputation for using the latest high-tech equipment to quickly deliver patient care. However, reduced health-care budget cuts and the changeover to “Obamacare” have lead to increased patient-care workloads and overcrowding in our local medical facilities, which creates conditions in which patients may receive incorrect dosages of prescribed medications or, worse, the wrong medication altogether.

In particular, here in Tucson medical malpractice claims often result from mistakes in administering medicines and medical procedures to patients in hospitals and clinics. It seems that local doctors’ reliance on “old-school” handwritten prescriptions and medical orders can lead to misinterpretations by pharmacists and nurses, who may then dispense or administer the wrong drugs or treatments to patients, sometimes with unfortunate results.

As highlighted in the above-cited study, computerized order-entry and procedure-management systems can reduce medication and treatment errors by about 13%, yet such systems are only available in approximately half of our hospitals. And, 40% of these hospitals use computerized prescription systems for about 90% of their prescriptions, while the remaining hospitals only use these life-saving computerized platforms less than half the time.

Medical technology can help, or hurt patients

In addition to reducing errors by pharmacists and nurses in deciphering doctors’ handwriting, computerized prescription systems also provide automatic checks on drug doses as well as cross-checks for compatibility and interactions with other medications. These features are especially important for protecting vulnerable patients who receive multiple medications with complex dosage regimens.

Medical malpractice issues can arise anytime patients receive incorrect medications, overdoses of prescribed medications, or treatments and surgical procedures which are inappropriate for a particular patient.

The power of technology to heal patients also increases the potential for harm when treatments go wrong

For the doctors, nurses and technicians who administer medications and other treatments, there is little incentive to report or correct prescription mistakes and medical errors, since in most cases such errors aren’t fatal. Still, when health-care workers make mistakes, patients can be adversely affected and even suffer hidden, long-term consequences.

And, if prescription errors and other medical mistakes are left uncorrected, the same faulty systems and negligent providers may continue to impact patients and their families, perhaps with deadly consequences. So, anytime a doctor or health-care worker’s errors are discovered, it’s important for patients and their families to take action to protect themselves and future patients by seeking professional help from an experienced medical malpractice attorney such as Bob Barber.

If you or a loved one has been affected by medical malpractice anywhere in Tucson or Pima County, you should contact the Bob Barber Law firm today. Bob Barber can help discover the source of medical errors, spotlight treatment issues which must be corrected, and work to ensure that you receive the financial compensation to which you are entitled. Call Bob Barber at 520-293-4440.