New Jersey Prescription Error Attorneys
Over one million serious medication errors occur every year in New Jersey and throughout the United States. This type of medical malpractice by New Jersey doctors, nurses, hospitals, pharmacists, and other medical professionals can cause serious injury or a fatal reaction, especially if the patient has an allergy and goes into anaphylactic shock. It costs approximately $3.5 billion to treat injuries caused by medication mistakes annually. With lost income, reduced productivity, and ballooning health-care costs included, the annual cost of medication errors is estimated to be between $17 billion and $26 billion.
Medication Errors in New Jersey Hospitals
Medication errors kill 98,000 people every year, which is the eighth leading cause of fatalities in New Jersey and throughout the United States. That is more than the number of people who die from motor vehicle accidents, AIDS, breast cancer, or on-the-job injuries. It is estimated somewhere between three and seven percent of all hospital inpatients have experienced a medication error. Medication errors are the leading type of mistake in a hospital setting, even though they are preventable with proper communication and careful handling of drugs.
Medication errors can occur any time during the handling of the medication, such as prescribing, dispensing, administering, and monitoring the patient. Medication errors in a hospital can happen for several reasons, including:
- The doctor has an incomplete patient report or no report at all.
- The patient’s report includes test results that were misread.
- The pre-operative interview did not reveal medication allergies.
- The patient is prescribed a medication that has an adverse interaction with a drug that they take regularly.
- A mistake is made when the drug is being handled by a physician, nurse or aide.
- The medication is administered incorrectly.
- The medication is incorrectly labeled.
- The patient is given the wrong dose.
- The patient was given the wrong dosing instructions at the hospital.
- The patient was not given a drug that they required.
If you were the victim of a medication error in a hospital, our New Jersey medication error attorneys will seek to recover all possible damages from the hospital for injuries incurred by the error.
Medication Errors at the Pharmacy
A pharmacy is a hectic environment. Patients are in a hurry to pick up their medications, which puts extra pressure on the pharmacy employees. That leads to prescriptions being incorrectly filled with the wrong drug or the wrong dose. More than 7,000 people die in New Jersey and around the country each year from medication errors made by their local pharmacy. Medication errors and improper drug reactions can happen with prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, or supplements.
More than fifty percent of New Jersey pharmacists surveyed admitted to incorrectly filling a prescription within the previous two months. The average number of misfilled prescriptions during that same period was 2.5 per pharmacist. Some eight percent of pharmacists admitted making more than six errors during the previous sixty days. Over fifty percent said they gave the wrong dose and twenty-five percent said they gave the wrong medication.
The pharmacist’s workload also plays a role. Forty-seven percent of pharmacists who filled one-hundred prescriptions per day said they had made an error, but sixty percent of pharmacists who filled more than one-hundred prescriptions per day said they had made an error. Independent pharmacists caught their errors fifty percent of the time. The patient or a family member spotted the mistake thirty-eight percent of the time. Chain store pharmacies only found their errors twenty-six percent of the time, compared to sixty-eight percent being discovered by the patient.
Some of the reasons for pharmacy medication errors are:
- Doctors have illegible handwriting.
- The pharmacist is distracted.
- The pharmacist does not hear the prescription correctly when it is called in by the doctor.
- Medication names and identifiers are too similar.
- The dosing instructions are too difficult for the patient to follow.
In most cases, a communication breakdown is the root cause of the medication error. Imprecise communications can cause confusion over the drug’s name, its appearance, the dosing instructions, when to take the drug, and if a new prescription is meant to replace or supplement a former prescription.
At the New Jersey law firm of Mazie Slater Katz & Freeman, we have extensive experience in litigating medication error lawsuits, such as the $3.85 million medical malpractice settlement our medication error attorneys won against a hospital that gave an adult-sized dose of a medication to a nine-year-old child from New Jersey, causing the young girl to go into cardiac arrest, suffer kidney failure, and develop sepsis. This type of carelessness is inexcusable.
NJ Medication Error Lawsuits
If you or a loved one has suffered as a result of a medication error, please contact Mazie Slater Katz & Freeman. We will get back to you as soon as possible to discuss your case. Our New Jersey medication error attorneys will aggressively take on the pharmacy or hospital where the error took place and we will get you the compensation you deserve. Our track record speaks for itself.