When people are ill and in need of medical care, they typically go to hospitals and rely on doctors to treat their illnesses. While at hospitals, there are other health care workers—besides doctors—who assist in patients’ treatments. However, patients often forget the other behind the scenes personnel, such as hospital pharmacists, who have a hand in their recovery.
When everyone does their part and things go right, hospital patients are treated correctly and recover from their illnesses or surgeries. Unfortunately, things don’t always go smoothly, and patients’ safety can be compromised due to medication errors. If truth be told, the majority of patients at hospitals nationwide receive the correct medication and dosages; however, many patients are victims of the wrong medication or drug dosages.
While medication mistakes happen unintentionally due to distracted nurses or pharmacists, some of the main causes of medicine errors involve the following two issues:
- Hospital practices are lax or are not followed. Policies are in place for a reason and should be followed, in order to deliver a high quality of care to patients. When hospitals or staff members fail to have a strong commitment to medication safety, patients can suffer harm.
- Hospital pharmacists are understaffed. When pharmacists work in these conditions, they are constantly dealing with high levels of stress and anxiety, which can cause them to make mistakes with medications. Pharmacists who are overworked do not have the time to daily review patients’ drug charts or make appropriate decisions about their drug therapy, which affects the safety of patients. With a high work load and patient load, mistakes are bound to happen. Unfortunately, patients sometimes don’t even get the right information about their drugs at discharge.
Prioritizing Patient Safety
Patients should never suffer from medication errors at hospitals—the places that people go to get better. In order to prevent other medication mistakes from occurring in the future, hospitals need to focus on improving their systems and processes and making patient safety top of mind for employees. When medical mistakes do occur, hospitals should learn from their mistakes in order to make things safer. Checklists should be used in every step, and health care workers should double check medications in order to prevent medication errors from happening.
If you have suffered at the hands of a negligent doctor or pharmacist, please contact an experienced pharmacy malpractice attorney at Kennedy Hodges. Call 888-526-7616 for a free initial consultation, and request a free copy of our report, How to Make Pharmacies Pay for Injuries Caused by Medication Errors.