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How common is it for a medical professional to give a patient the incorrect drugs?

On Behalf of | Sep 4, 2023 | Medical Malpractice

In the healthcare system, you expect doctors to care for you to the best of their ability. At a bare minimum, you expect them to give you the correct treatment. What happens if they do not?

There are times when medical professionals may prescribe or administer the wrong medication. This can result in serious consequences for patients.

How often does incorrect drug administration happen?

Studies show medication errors can occur at a median rate of about 8 to 25%. The errors may include improper prescription, dispensing, transcription and administration of medication. Miscommunication is one of the most common reasons for incorrect drug administration. Pharmacists may struggle with the doctor’s handwriting and provide the wrong medication. Likewise, some medications may have very similar names.

Additionally, many hospital workers suffer from fatigue and high workloads. This can compromise a professional’s ability to give you the correct drugs.

The impact on patient safety

No matter the reason, giving a patient the wrong drugs should never be acceptable. Incorrect drug administration can cause adverse reactions. Patients may experience increased healthcare costs, longer hospital stays and emotional distress.

As a patient, you deserve optimal medical care. It is the hospital’s responsibility to put in place preventative measures. For example, electronic prescribing systems, computerized physician order entry systems and barcode scanning technology can reduce the risk of incorrect drug administration. The medical system should always have checks and balances to reduce patient harm. If you suffer the effects of receiving the wrong medication, the hospital may have fault.