Medication mistakes made on the cell phone

We’ve mentioned several times how communication errors contribute greatly to medication mistakes made in prescribing and administering the drugs. Now it is believed that cell phone communications may contribute to such medication errors as well.

To begin with, a voice on the cell phone is not always clear and can result in miscommunications taking place. Ordinarily this would not be a problem, but a medication mistake can result in injury or even death to the individual that the medicine is prescribed.

A survey conducted by a Pennsylvania writer revealed that at least 40 percent of pharmacists will talk on the cell phone when taking orders, and most of those questioned acknowledged that a medication mistake could easily occur. Most are in a hurry when taking such calls and are likely to be engaged in multitasking while consulting with the doctor or patient.

The problem becomes even more prone to error when it is the doctor that is on the cell phone. Often the doctor is using the cell phone at times when they are away from the office and do not have access to the patient’s records. Though such individuals are often blessed with remarkable memories, relying on such a memory, while at the same time providing detailed instructions to a pharmacist, is a risky undertaking.

Those injured due to a medication mistake often can suffer severe side effects to the incorrect medication or dosage given. Since the consequences are so severe, one might wish to speak to an attorney to understand their options. Such an attorney can make certain that any needed care that came about due to the medication mistake will be paid for by the responsible parties.

Source:, “Cell phones and patient safety,” by Michael Cohen, May 8, 2012