When you visit your West Virginia doctor, you expect that the doctor will take care of you. When you leave the office with a diagnosis and prescription, you have to take your doctor at his or her word. What happens when the medicine does not help? Worse, what happens if the medicine makes your condition worse or subsequently harms you? The FDA refers to a preventable event that leads to inappropriate medication use or patient harm as a medication error. 

Medication errors may occur at multiple different levels. For instance, it can occur while prescribing the drug, it can occur when the pharmacy enters the information into a computer system or during preparation of the drug. In the U.S., there are more than 100,000 medication error reports per year. 

In some instances, doctors or pharmacists may confuse drug names or refer to the wrong dosage. There are regulations in place to curb errors on every level. Some of the most common effects of a medication error include: 

  • Birth defects 
  • Disability 
  • Hospitalization 
  • Death 

While sometimes, a patient may be responsible for how he or she takes the medication, in many cases, a medication error occurs because of improper labeling or a medical professional’s mistake. You can reduce your risk of suffering from a medication error by asking questions about any drugs you take, by ensuring that you know what the drug looks like before you receive it. Whenever there are any questions about your medication, your first call should be to your doctor or pharmacist. 

The purpose of the above information is to educate on medication errors. It is not legal advice.