If you have spent any time around senior citizens, you probably noticed that as they aged, they usually required more doctors visits, more health care and more medications. While these medications are often necessary for the person’s well being, it’s easy for our loved ones to be over or under medicated as well as a number of other medication errors. Medication errors and the elderly is a cause for concern whether they live on their own or in a facility.
Consider the scenario where an elderly couple still lives on their own. The woman begins to exhibit early signs of dementia so the husband takes over dispensing all of her daily medications. As his wife becomes more confused, she often insists that he has not given her certain medications and becomes agitated and upset. Second guessing himself and in an effort to maintain calm his wife, the husband gives in, over medicating his wife. Over a period of time, the husband no longer recalls what the actually dosage should be each day. This example happened while the couple still resided in their home. Neither of them are professionals in the medical field. It’s obvious from the scenario that a better plan should be followed for medication. It’s for this reason that our medical professionals have laws that govern dispensing, filling and prescribing medication.
Take a look at any prescription label and you will see a scientific name that most people find difficult to pronounce. If you Google that name, most medications have a generic and other medications that sound like or are spelled similar. It takes someone educated in the medical business to sort all of this out. Taking a medication for an infection when you need to control your diabetes is not just a setback – it can flat out kill you. So, with all of the Federal and State laws in place to protect consumers, how does an error take place?
How does a medication error happen?
- Pharmacy Errors – Medication errors can happen due to neglect by a pharmacist. It can be that he or she dispensed the wrong dosage, the wrong medication or labeled the wrong information when filling the prescription.
- Physician Errors – Doctors can fail to review the patient’s medical history properly and prescribe the wrong medication or the wrong dosage. Doctors may also err in writing the prescription or in trusting another in the office (Physician’s Assistant) incorrectly.
- Dispensing Errors – Assuming the medication and dosage are all correct, the person giving the medication can be negligent when dispensing the medication. For example, a nurse may give too much, too little or not follow the directions.
What should you do if this happens?
Medication errors can cause serious harm to a patient and they can prove to be fatal. They are 100% preventable and should never happen. They are the cause of someone who is not paying attention and not double checking their work. If you or someone you love is suffering or has been suffering from these types of situations, contact us. Attorney David Crawford has the experience and knows exactly where to start. If the initial facts warrants further legal investigation, David and his team will gather information about the patient’s history so that he has a complete understanding of what, how, and when, this occurred. He will work with you and others to develop a detailed time line to understand what happened to your loved one, any warning signs that were ignored by the medical staff and what should have been done to avoid the problem. In essence, David will show you the negligent acts and omissions that may have occurred and help you understand the case prior to filing any lawsuit.