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Medication errors more common than people think

The United States is a county in love with its medication. While there is nothing implicitly wrong with medication, the concern for some observers are the side effects, and the very real possibility of over medication. What is additionally concerning is how often medication errors occur in the United States. Maryland readers might find the following blog on medical negligence, medication errors and medical malpractice interesting, if not a little frightening.

According to a recent report by Reuters, doctor's errors and hospital negligence result in medication mistakes far more frequently than most people think. Medication errors can include everything from forgetting to administer a particular drug to a patient, giving them the wrong dose, or even administering the wrong drug. While these mistakes may not sound concerning to some people, any one of these mistakes could result in serious injuries.

Researchers, who reviewed reports of over three quarter of a million medication errors, found that doctors immediately informed the patients or the patient's families in only about two percent of the cases. The 840,000 medication errors the researchers reviewed were filed by over 500 hospitals over a six-year period between 1999 and 2005. Among the medication errors reported, 96 percent were in intensive care units and 98 percent occurred elsewhere.

If someone is injured due to a medication error they may be entitled to collect damages for their injuries. Whenever a patient is harmed by a doctor's errors or hospital negligence, that patient may have a claim for damages against the doctor, the doctor's staff and, possibly, the hospital itself.

Source: USA Today, "Health roundup: Hospitals keep quiet about drug errors," Kim Painter, Jan. 14, 2013.

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