Medication errors present serious threats to patients and are among the more common causes of malpractice lawsuits. All states, including Maryland, give patients legal recourse if a doctor has made a medication error that has resulted in an injury or death. To prevent such errors, there are steps that all patients can take to make sure they are proactively managing their own medication consumption.
How to prevent medication errors
While doctors and other medical staff always do the best that they can to protect their patients and avoid medication errors, a patient should not just tune out and assume that their doctor is always right. Even well-trained professionals can make mistakes in a busy medical facility or during a long shift working with many different patients.
Individuals should always be actively engaged in their own medical care. There are many ways to do this:
- Keep track of any questions you have about drugs you are being administered or prescribed.
- Keep your own list of medications that you take and compare them to publicly available databases that will list side effects or potentially problematic drug interactions.
- Make sure that the medication you are taking matches the description of the drug on the label.
- Double check all directions and make sure you are consuming the right amount at the right time of day.
Be involved in your own care
Remember, you should always be an engaged patient. Ask questions, keep your own notes and be sure to bring any concerns directly to the appropriate medical staff. It’s better to be overly cautious and do your research than to overlook a doctor’s mistake and end up with harmful effects that lead to a malpractice lawsuit.