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3 ways medication errors put patients at risk

Patients receiving treatment at medical facilities expect that the professionals managing their care will do so properly. Although people know that medical mistakes happen, most adults assume that the nurses and doctors overseeing their treatment will be competent and will act in their best interests.

For a small group of those receiving treatment in a hospital or living in a rehabilitation facility, medical mistakes will have an impact on their health or their recovery. The nurses and doctors managing your care might make mistakes with the administration of medication. Those mistakes can lead to adverse outcomes for a number of different reasons. How does a medication mistake hurt a patient?

It can affect their response to treatment

When a patient experiences a medical mistake, it could affect the way their body responds to treatment. A medication mistake might involve missing a dose of a drug because they received the wrong medication or receiving the wrong dosage of the right drug. For some patients, missed doses or improper dosing might result in the treatment not working, which might mean repeating the treatment or a poor medical outcome.

It could lead to a dangerous drug interaction

If a nurse hands someone the wrong medication, the consequences could be dire. Many drugs interact with one another. One medication might increase the impact of another or make another medication less effective. Especially when staff members don’t notice the issue right away, receiving the wrong medication could have severe medical consequences.

It could cause an adverse reaction

Patients may have an allergic reaction to certain medications or may develop unusual and concerning side effects. Doctors may try out certain drugs in small doses to ensure a patient can tolerate them and does not display symptoms of an allergy before administering them. If the patient receives the wrong medication, they can potentially have an allergic response or even experience an overdose if they receive too much of a drug to which they are sensitive.

Patients who have direct negative consequences or a poor treatment outcome because of medical mistakes may have the right to hold the professionals that provided their care or the facility where they receive treatment accountable. Pursuing medical malpractice claims can compensate those injured by a medication mistake made by someone providing them with care.