From receiving the incorrect medication or taking the wrong dose, medication errors are a common medical error. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) receives more than 100,000 reports of these errors every year, and these errors can put you at serious risk. Victims of medication errors can put you at risk for severe health conditions, disability and death.
While you cannot protect yourself from every harmful mistake that a medical professional might make, you can take some precautions to protect yourself from medication errors.
Communicate with your healthcare provider.
Poor communication can result in many errors, so it is essential to have a straightforward conversation with your doctor about your condition and the medication prescribed for your treatment.
Know about your medications.
One of the most important ways to protect yourself is to know a few details about your medication. While you rely on your doctor to know which medications will work for you, knowing some information about what you will experience on the medication will help you remain informed about your own treatment.
The Mayo Clinic recommends knowing several details about your medication, including:
- The name of the medication, including brand name if applicable
- The dose you are intended to take
- What to do if you miss a dose or take more than prescribed
- Any possible side-effects or interference with other medications
- The results you are supposed to see and when you are supposed to see them
These details can help you recognize when your doctor, your nurse or your pharmacist makes an error.
Read your labels before taking your medication.
By knowing your medications, you have essential knowledge that allows you to examine your medication labels. You may be able to identify errors on this label, discuss these issues with your doctor and protect yourself from the harmful effects of taking the wrong medication or the wrong dose.
Even by taking precautions, you cannot protect yourself from all harmful mistakes made by medical providers. If medical malpractice has harmed you or a loved one, speak to an attorney. Their counsel could be vital in holding medical professionals accountable for the impact of their mistakes and to receiving the support you need to heal.