Prescription errors are a common cause of injuries among patients in the United States. One of the common errors made is giving the wrong drug to the patient.
While doctors no longer prescribe medications to patients on a written prescription pad in most cases, they can still make mistakes that make it possible for the wrong prescriptions to make it to their patients.
Drop-down systems are not without risks
Doctors today usually use drop-down medication lists on digital systems to prescribe medications to patients. The nice thing about electronic prescriptions is that they can be sent immediately to the pharmacy, and there is a reduced risk of the patient losing or manipulating a paper prescription.
At the same time, there is an increased risk of errors due to autopopulating incorrect data. For example, when the doctor types in the first three letters of the patient’s name, the wrong patient’s data may come up. That could mean that the doctor doesn’t realize that the patient they’re prescribing a medication to is on a drug that will interact with what they’re prescribing.
A similar error could occur if the wrong drug populates. For instance, Lamisil is significantly different from Lamictal, but they share the same first four letters and may be easily confused. The doctor might overlook that the wrong drug was put into the system or think that they’ve prescribed the correct medication when they haven’t.
Many prescription errors are harmless, but not all
Fortunately, many prescription errors are not harmful to patients. The drugs might not be necessary, but they won’t necessarily lead to illness, either. Unfortunately, there are some cases where even a simple error could lead to life-threatening issues for the patient.
A legal claim is possible when injuries occur due to prescription errors
In those cases, it is reasonable for the patient or their family to look into making a claim against the doctor or pharmacist for filling a prescription that was hazardous to them. Medication errors like this happen because providers are human, but with all the protective systems in place, the wrong mediation should never reach the patient.