Researchers at the Mayo Clinic highlight how patients, doctors, pharmacists and pharmaceutical companies could all do more to reduce medication errors. They point out how patient outcomes would significantly improve if each of these parties were to be more effective communicators.
How poor communication causes medication errors
There are numerous ways in which poor communication undermines outcomes for patients when it comes to their medication, including:
- Drug companies sometimes aren’t transparent about the medical conditions that a particular prescription medication treats, its contraindications, known side effects and proper dosage. Doctors may misprescribe a prescription drug if its manufacturer fails to disclose these details to a physician.
- Patients sometimes fail to provide their doctors with clear information about their medical history, symptoms, and allergies, which leads to mistakes when a doctor decides what medicine is appropriate.
- Members of a medical team may fail to communicate with each other, so a patient can end up with two different doctors who prescribe medications that may be fine on their own but toxic in combination.
- Pharmacists can run into trouble because of labeling issues with drugs that sound alike or look alike, and they sometimes get confusing instructions from doctors due to illegible handwriting, abbreviations and spelling errors.
How you can hold others accountable for your medication errors
Many of us trust that drug manufacturers have thoroughly tested their formulations for contraindications or side effects before putting them on the market. We also expect our doctors to grasp our medical situation and to prescribe the right prescription drugs to treat it. We trust that pharmacists will give us the right medication that our physician prescribed. Sometimes things don’t go as expected, however, and people get hurt.
It’s in instances like these that you may want to consult with a medical malpractice attorney who understands how Connecticut law can hold those who drop the ball accountable for their actions.