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Can I get help after medication errors injured me more?

Since 2000, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has received more than 95,000 medication error reports. This number only includes a portion of errors that truly occur, however, since reporting an error is voluntary. The FDA works with multiple partners in an effort to track and reduce the number of errors that are occurring.

Medication errors include any preventable event that may cause inappropriate medication use to harm a patient. The FDA monitors all reports submitted through its MedWatch program and uses these reports to educate the public about strategies to prevent errors from recurring.

Errors may take place for a variety of reasons, including miscommunication of drug orders from poor handwriting, poor packaging design or confusion between similar drug names. The FDA has tried to combat some of these by setting regulations regarding many areas of the medication field, from specifics for drug labeling and packaging to reviewing proposed drug names to prevent confusion.

Despite the regulations in place, an error may still sometimes happen due to a negligent pharmacist. Serious injuries or sometimes even death may occur from a physician or pharmacist's inattention. In this type of situation, a medical malpractice claim may arise. Once a treating healthcare provider begins to assist a patient, he or she has assumed a heightened duty of care to come to the patient's aid and may therefore be liable for any injury resulting from the provider's negligence.

Because medication errors may cause a large variety of injuries, damages from medical malpractice claims have far-reaching compensation abilities as well. A victim may be able to recover financially for medical expenses, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of earning capacity, physical and mental pain or even the cost of hiring someone to perform household services.

After trusting healthcare providers with our lives, experiencing the pain and confusion of mistaken medical advice can be devastating. A medical malpractice claim may help an individual ease some of the financial strain often associated with additional healing time once a healthcare provider fails to offer appropriate medical care.

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