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Where do medication error adverse drug events occur?

Safety in medication use is essential to prevent unwanted consequences. From storing medications securely away from young children, to reading labels closely, there are many steps that Californians can take at home to ensure safe medication use. Unfortunately, however, sometimes Californians are at the mercy of medical professionals who are prescribing and administering medications and, despite their professional positions, these individuals may make dangerous medication errors that may result in adverse drug events.

An adverse drug event occurs when a patient is injured following a medical intervention in connection with a drug. Adverse drug events encompass allergic reactions if a doctor has not checked for allergies, adverse drug reactions and medication errors. They occur in long-term care settings, outpatient settings and in hospitals and may require additional medical care.

Outpatient adverse drug events lead to approximately one million visits to the emergency room, as well as more than 3.5 million physician office visits, annually. Inpatient adverse drug events lead to approximately two million hospital visits annually, and account for roughly one third of all hospital adverse events. These hospital and doctor's office visits are examples of medical care that should have been completely preventable and, yet, because of a mistake, whether a dangerous combination of prescriptions or a doctor administering an incorrect drug, a patient actually requires more medical care.

If you or a loved one has suffered an adverse drug event in connection with a medication error, you may wish to consult with an attorney. These mistakes typically should not occur to begin with, and an injured patient may have a legal cause of action.

Source: health.gov, "Adverse Drug Events," accessed Sept. 9, 2016

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