Protecting Yourself From Medication Errors

If you have been treated for an injury or illness or receive continuous treatment for a chronic condition, medication likely has been or is involved with the process. While your healthcare providers are ultimately responsible for providing safe and thorough medical care, there are a few things patients can do to further protect their health and wellbeing and reduce the likelihood of life-threatening complications as the result of medication errors.

Medication errors may happen anywhere along the chain of the production of the drug, to the distributor that supplies it to your pharmacy, to the doctor who prescribes it, and the pharmacist that fills your prescription. While some things may be out of your hands and scope of influence, such as defective drugs reaching the market or a manufacturer’s failure to warn of dangerous side effects, there are a few aspects of your medication that you can control. If you or someone you love have suffered as a result of a medication error, contact an experienced and successful Kansas City personal injury lawyer at Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet for a free legal consultation.

Be Thorough and Ask Questions

Your doctor should be fully aware of your medical history and any medications you may already be taking when he or she writes a prescription or recommends a procedure. Take an active role in your medical care by asking questions about treatments or medications that your doctor recommends. If something does not feel right or concerns you, tell your doctor. He or she can better explain the situation.

If a particular medicine or treatment does not feel right to you, ask about alternatives. Healthcare professionals are bound by the doctrine of informed consent. This means they must ensure their patients are fully aware of all aspects of the medical care they receive. If anything alarms you or does not make sense – even if you simply want more information about your doctor’s medical advice – ask questions. 

Be Honest With Your Medical History

Do not assume that simply because you got over an illness or healed from an injury that it no longer matters as far as your medical care is concerned. Always completely and honestly fill out medical questionnaires. If your doctor asks you a question about your medical history that requires an embarrassing or personal response, do not shy away from the truth. If you are not sure about an answer, always err on the side of caution. Voice your concern to the doctor if there is ever any doubt.

Understand Your Prescriptions

If you have been prescribed any medication, ensure your doctor is aware of every other medicine you take, including any herbal or homeopathic remedies. This will reduce the risk of having a negative reaction to volatile drug combinations. When your doctor tells you what he or she is prescribing, note the name of the medication and dosage so you can compare it to your filled prescription. This will help ensure you receive the right drug in the correct dosage. Sometimes, pharmacists make mistakes when reading a doctor’s handwritten prescription. Many medications have similar-sounding names, so it is always a good idea to double-check.

You should also make sure you fully understand the proper dosage, know often you should take the medication, and recognize any risks associated with the drug. You may need to abstain from certain foods, beverages, or activities while taking your medication. Your pharmacy should also provide a list of potential hazards and side effects of your prescription. Never take medication that has expired.

Stick to your medication schedule. Most medicines are only effective once they have been consistently present in your bloodstream for some time, so skipping doses is never a good idea. Incorporate your medications into your daily routine, and set reminders for yourself to reduce the likelihood of missing doses.

One final note – never use any medication that was not prescribed to you, and do not share your medication with others. Even if it seems like it would help, unless you are a trained medical professional, you are not qualified to make those calls. You may endanger yourself or others. These tips can help you limit your risk of medication problems, but safety starts with you. Form good habits, and talk to your doctor about any concerns you have.

The attorneys at Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger are experienced and successful Kansas City medical malpractice attorneys who can help you obtain the maximum and ideal amount of compensation for you and or your loved one’s full physical and or emotional recovery. If you or someone you love have suffered as a result of a medication error, contact the Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet firm for a free legal consultation, today!