For people who are using prescription medication in Texas, errors might be made by pharmacists or by physicians. A pharmacist might have two medications with similar names waiting to be passed to a customer and could hand a customer the wrong one. Physicians might also write a prescription for the wrong medication for various reasons.
The role of EHRs
While the prevalence of electronic health records has reduced the incidence of errors that occur because a physician’s handwriting is misread, these records have introduced their own challenges. Medications that a patient has discontinued might not be removed from the record, or physicians might receive so many alerts about medications that they overlook the truly important ones. There are also situations in which EHRs do not alert a physician about potential dangers, including interactions with other drugs or other issues.
What patients can do
There are steps that patients can take to protect themselves. They should not hesitate to ask questions of doctors and pharmacists, particularly if they think that they have been given the wrong medication. They should keep a record of all the medications that they are on and check those records against what they are given by the pharmacy. Sticking with just one pharmacy instead of using different ones may also reduce the likelihood of errors.
While the effects of taking the wrong medication may be relatively minor in some cases, it can cause unpleasant symptoms or be dangerous or even fatal in other cases. People who were given the wrong medication and suffered ill effects as a result may want to discuss the situation with an attorney to find out whether it constitutes medical malpractice. An injured patient might receive compensation to cover costs associated with the error.