Reducing Medication Errors

There are many different types of medication errors, and each has its own risks. These errors can happen when medications are prescribed, when they are dispensed, or when they are given. Hundreds of thousands of individuals in this country alone are hurt every year due to medication errors.

What are the most common medication errors?

Common medication errors in nursing homes include:

  • Medication errors in nursing, such as giving a resident the wrong medication because both have similar names
  • Providing the resident with the wrong dosage of their medication, giving them too little or too much, and causing an overdose or for the medication to not be effective
  • Ignoring a resident’s medical history and dispensing medication that may trigger an allergic reaction, among other side effects
  • Giving a resident two drugs that should not be taken together. This could have fatal consequences
  • Giving medications to the resident at the wrong time
  • Forgetting to administer medications
  • Medications that are not prepared the right way. The mistake could happen at the pharmacy or in the nursing home

What are examples of medication errors?

Some examples of medication errors that happen at home could be:

  • Taking medication for pain, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, when you are also taking a prescription drug for pain that contains the same ingredient. You would end up taking a double dose of painkillers. The risk? Damaging your liver.
  • Taking medication for depression such as Prozac or Sarafem, and adding a migraine drug such as Imitrex because you feel a migraine coming on. Both of these drugs affect a chemical in the brain called serotonin and combining them may be life-threatening. You may start by experiencing agitation, confusion, higher body temperature, and a rapid heartbeat.

What are medication errors in hospitals and nursing homes?

This is a fact: Thousands of people are harmed or die in hospitals and health care facilities every year due to medication errors. This is cause for serious concern since these mistakes include everything from poor provider-patient communication, an unawareness on the part of the patient as to what medications they are taking, inadequate monitoring of patient response, misinterpretation of physician handwriting regarding the name of the drug or its prescribed dosage, and more. Errors also involve over-the-counter products, dietary supplements, or vitamins.

Some actions that may be taken to prevent or avoid medication errors in hospitals and nursing homes include improving methods for drug labeling, better communication with patients to make sure they have a clear understanding of their medications when they are released and must self-administer these drugs, and encouraging patients to advocate for their own safety and avoid the most common medication errors.

What are the top 5 medical errors?

Medical errors are so pervasive that they have become a leading cause of death in the United States. Among them, the five most common medical error types are:

Errors in Diagnosis

By incorrectly diagnosing a patient, a harmful treatment may be prescribed. This can not only hurt them but can also prolong a patient’s suffering.

Delayed Diagnosis

An illness that is diagnosed late may result in the patient missing their window for effective treatment.

Medication Errors

Issues with drug interactions, prescribing the wrong dosage, disregarding a patient’s medical history, and others, can have detrimental effects on patients.


In this case, it is infections within hospitals and nursing homes that can be spread and harm other patients, even to the point of becoming deadly.

Unsafe Medical Devices

In these cases, it may be the manufacturer of the device or medication who bears responsibility for the injuries.

In any medication error case, call the lawyers at the Rooth Law Firm and get the legal help you need.