While medications have had enormous benefits for patients nationwide, we often forget that these drugs can be lethal if not administered carefully. A lifesaving drug can become a poison with just a simple pull of a syringe-and this type of error happens far too often.
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Dosage errors account for 30% of all hospital medication mistakes. While many of these are caught and successfully treated, some patients have suffered strokes, liver toxicity, and even death.
Here are a few common ways that simple mistakes can lead to serious dosage errors:
- Number errors. Countless victims have suffered medication mistakes that are a result of a single decimal point. Transposing numbers and misreading abbreviations often cause patients to receive doses 10 times greater than the intended amount.
- Drug company changes. In an emergency, a doctor may grab a medication based on what its container looks like. But pharmaceutical companies may change the concentration of the drug without changing the packaging, and the doctor has no reason to double-check a drug he has used countless times before.
- Intended use mistakes. Some drugs can be used to treat a number of conditions. For example, a low-dose chemotherapy drug may be administered to a person with rheumatoid arthritis. However, if the person injecting the drug does not know what it is being used for, they can easily misjudge the amount needed and cause a Virginia hospital overdose.
- Skipped-over safety checks. While many hospitals are required to do double-and even triple-checks to avoid these kinds of mistakes, staff members will often skip over these procedures, believing them to be a waste of time.
As trusted Fairfax medical malpractice attorneys, we know that not all of these mistakes can be prevented. However, that does not mean that health professionals should not be held accountable for their actions. In fact, pursuing a case against a hospital can not only bring you justice for your loved one, it can also force the hospital to change their protocol-making it less likely for others to suffer similar mistakes in the future.
If someone you love received an incorrect dosage of medication, we can help. Contact Shevlin Smith today at (703) 721-4233 for a free consultation.