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Medical malpractice: Did a nurse's medication error cause injury?

If you visit an Ohio medical office or hospital for treatment, a doctor might prescribe medication at some point. From minor discomfort associated with a virus to chronic pain issues caused by underlying medical conditions or injuries, prescription drugs can often provide pain relief and other benefits as patients recover from surgery or cope with other ailments.

No matter what type of treatment you're receiving, but particularly where medication is involved, you entrust your care to your medical team. It's not your job to know how to do their job. There are stringent regulations and set protocol for dispensing medication. The nurse who is taking care of you at the time must act according to accepted safety standards. When errors occur, it is often because of medical negligence.

Nurses know how to prevent medication errors

It's not like someone obtains a license to practice nursing without ever receiving training regarding how to administer medication in a hospital or other medical setting. The following list explains what nurses refer to as "The Five Rs," which help them avoid potentially dangerous medication mistakes:

  • Your nurse must make sure you are the right patient when he or she is about to dispense medication.
  • You might be the correct patient, but the incorrect medication could cause you serious injury, so your nurse must also confirm that the medication he or she is about to give you is the right one.
  • You can take some medication orally, while other types work best intravenously. One of the nurse's Five Rs is making certain he or she is giving the medication through the right means.
  • Giving medication at the wrong time can have negative consequences, so it's important to confirm that it's the right time for a particular patient's medicine.
  • One of the most critical of the Five Rs is to confirm dosage. Sadly, many fatalities occur in Ohio and elsewhere when nurses accidentally give incorrect doses of medicine.

These are not the only strategies your nurses have for keeping you safe from medication errors. Safety actually begins before your nurse ever reaches your side. He or she can read back instructions to the prescribing physician to ensure that the transcription is correct. There is also a system in place for changes of shift when one nurse leaves and another comes onto the floor.

If you suffer a medication injury

You can be a proactive patient by asking questions and double-checking any issue that causes you concern. For instance, if you think your doctor said you'd be taking a medication that is different from the one the nurse is about to give you, don't hesitate to seek clarification.

Suffering medication injury can result in further health complications, as well as financial distress. Many Ohio medical negligence victims seek financial recovery for their losses by filing malpractice claims in civil court.

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