As a patient in a hospital, you place a lot of trust in the doctors and nurses looking after you. Most repay this trust amply, but sometimes there are exceptions. One of these exceptions is when the people attending you make a medication error.
As drugs are powerful things, giving you too much of something, or the wrong thing, could do serious harm. If they give you the correct medicine, but too low a dose, you could also suffer, as it won’t have the required effect. So that might mean you don’t get better as you should, or if the drug is an anesthetic or painkiller, that you feel more pain than you should.
Medications often have pretty clear instructions, so what could cause a nurse to give you the wrong amount or the wrong drug?
If staff members are busy discussing their plans for the weekend, they are not concentrating on your health. Distractions when someone is working out the correct medicine and dosage, telling someone what to administer, selecting the drug from the cabinet or administering it to patients could all lead to errors.
Alcohol or drug influence
A doctor or nurse who has a mighty hangover, or is on a drug comedown or high is going to be more error-prone than one who is sober.
Medical staff need to communicate with patients and perhaps their families to find out about past history, present symptoms and any drug allergies. They may need to communicate with others such as the patient’s physician or a colleague. Some people can be pretty bad communicators at times, either failing to ask the right questions, to listen or to express themselves clearly.
A medication error that causes you significant harm may give grounds for a malpractice claim. They are complicated, so consider learning more if you have suffered harm.