Medication errors that occur in medical settings can have many different consequences depending on the type of mistake that occurs and if it is a one-time issue or a recurring one. Timing errors and mistakes about what medication a medical professional administers to a patient are among the most common medication errors.
Dosage errors are also common. They can occur at the pharmacy or in the hospital when a professional administers medication to a patient. For example, a pharmacist might mislabel pills resulting in someone taking more than they should. They could also improperly compound a medication, resulting in a drug that is stronger than it should be. On the other hand, a nurse could input the wrong information when setting up the intravenous (IV) delivery of a drug.
Medical professionals can also make mistakes in the administration of prescribed medication that can result in a dosage error. However it occurs, a dosage error can have severe consequences. What does receiving the wrong dose of medication potentially do?
Different medications have different effects on the human body, and therefore the consequences of receiving too much of a medication can also differ depending on the drug. If someone receives twice the dose that they should for intravenous narcotic pain relief, they might stop breathing.
Overdose reactions can result in loss of consciousness and damage to the heart, brain or renal systems. In some cases, having too much of a certain medication in someone’s body will result in toxicity issues where the medication becomes dangerous despite being helpful at lower doses.
Dosage errors don’t always mean that someone gets too much of a drug. Sometimes the opposite occurs. They receive far less than they should of a medication.
For someone in chronic pain, a dosage error might mean that they are miserable for days. For someone undergoing antibiotic treatments for chemotherapy, dosage mistakes might reduce the overall effectiveness of the treatment and affect someone’s chances of making a full recovery.
In both cases of overdose and ineffective treatment, the dosage mistake was likely preventable with better practices by the medical professionals involved. Pursuing a medical malpractice claim can create consequences for professionals who fail their patients while also reimbursing those patients or their family members for the impact of a serious Medical mistake.