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System errors can cause a prescription drug mistake

As a patient, you may be OK with the idea of taking a prescription drug as long as it will improve your overall level of health.

Unfortunately, there are a variety of things that could go wrong, such as a healthcare professional prescribing or filling the wrong drug.

Most healthcare professionals understand the ins and outs of safe medication, including providing the right drug to the right patient at the correct time and ensuring the right dose is properly administered.

However, it only takes one system error to lead to a prescription drug mistake, thus putting the patient in a bad spot. A mistake in any one of these system elements could result in an error:

  • Patient information, such as his or her diagnoses or age
  • Drug information
  • Communication, such as your doctor and pharmacist not being on the same page
  • Staff competency
  • Patient education

It's easy to believe that anything you are prescribed is something you can take to improve your health. After all, your doctor wouldn't prescribe it if it wasn't good for you. This may sound like it would be true 100 percent of the time, but that's not always the case.

If your medical situation has worsened as the result of a prescription drug error or any form of medical defect, don't hesitate to get the help you need. Once your health is back in order, learn more about what went wrong and how to move forward at that point. You may want to learn more about your legal rights to determine if you can receive compensation.

Source: Medscape, "The "Top 10" Drug Errors and How to Prevent Them," Kathryn L. Hahn, PharmD, accessed Dec. 18, 2017

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