Failure to medicate and other deadly medication errors common

Most of the news stories about medication errors are focused on patients receiving too much of a particular prescription drug. This frequently occurs in hospitals, nursing homes and pharmacies. In some cases, however, not receiving a medication as prescribed can cause permanent disabilities or possibly even death. Our readers in Pittsburgh may be surprised to learn just how common such medication errors are.

At a healthcare facility in Michigan, a patient lost vision in her left eye because the medical professionals who were supposed to be caring for her failed to give her eye drops for four days. At another facility, nurses did not give an 85-year-old woman prescription antibiotics. The woman died from a urinary tract infection.

In another case, an 85-year-old man who went to the hospital because of an abnormal heartbeat. The staff there prescribed a short stint in rehab before he returned home. While in rehab, the man did not receive necessary medication for his diabetes; his glucose level increased six-fold in just 5 days. His medical records indicate that the staff was fully aware that the man was diabetic. His daughter is filing a wrongful death lawsuit on his behalf.

Other medication errors include not checking for allergies or administering an incorrect drug. A woman died from brain failure after a nurse gave her 10 milligrams of a diabetes medicine that was intended for her roommate.

These are just a few of the many examples of medication errors that can occur. Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in America. It is a healthcare crisis can be prevented. If you have suffered a worsened condition or lost a loved one because of a negligent physician or other healthcare professional, you may want to discuss your legal options with an attorney.

Source: ABC Action News, “Prescription for danger: Medication errors inside nursing homes lead to hospitalization, death,” Ross Jones, Nov. 13, 2013.