Medication mistakes are a big problem for Americans


According to a study undertaken by Johns Hopkins University, the two leading causes of death for Americans are heart disease and cancer. These conditions can be devastating and in some cases affect individuals at random. Worse still is that not all cases of heart disease and cancer are preventable. However, the third leading cause of death according to this study is something that no Pennsylvanian should ever have to suffer: medication error.

Medication errors are preventable mistakes committed by health care professionals such as pharmacists, doctors and nurses. They can include giving a patient too much or too little of the correct drug, giving a patient the wrong drug, and not giving a patient a medication that they need. Lack of training and understaffing can cause patients to be subjected to medication errors, but there are steps that patients can take to avoid suffering harm due to these preventable mistakes.

Patients can and should ask questions about their medical conditions as well as the drugs they are prescribed. They also should understand the advantages and disadvantages of the prescriptions given to them. Often, patients can benefit from getting second opinions before committing to medication regimens.

Patients also should not be afraid to take along trusted friends and family members to their medical appointments so that others are aware of what medications and treatments the patients are expected to complete. Patients can also use downloadable medical apps on their smartphones to keep track of their medical information. Taking this step can also help avoid potentially life-threatening complications when their medications are in question.

A preventable medication error can be a death sentence for a Pittsburgh resident. Individuals who have suffered harm at the hands of negligent medical professionals, whether through a medication error, a failure to diagnose, or a surgical error, are reminded that they may have a strong medical malpractice claim that they can pursue in hopes of recovering compensation for their damages.

Source: CNBC, "Medical errors are to blame for more than 250,000 deaths in the US every year", Ray Sipherd, Feb. 22, 2018

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