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What are medication errors versus adverse drug events?

When a person in Florida is ill or injured, they put their faith in the expertise of the physician treating them. Unfortunately, sometimes medication errors occur. A medication error is a mistake that happens anywhere along the path of when a medication is prescribed by a physician to when the person being prescribed the drug receives it. For example, a physician may not check for allergies, may administer the wrong drug or the pharmacist could fail to read the doctor's handwriting properly.

Medication errors can lead to adverse drug events or ADEs. An ADE is the harm a person suffers due to taking a drug. It is important to note that not all ADEs are caused by medication errors. For example, unpreventable ADEs, such as "side effects," can occur that are not the result of a medication error.

However, any medication error that causes harm deserves to be carefully scrutinized. This is because, unfortunately, ADEs are not rare. According to one source, each year almost 700,000 people go to the emergency room after suffering an ADE and 100,000 are hospitalized due to a ADE. And, among hospitalized individuals in general, almost 5 percent will suffer an ADE. In fact, ADEs are one of the most prevalent medical errors in inpatient settings.

When a person is harmed due to a medication error, it could easily lead to a worsened condition. After all, not only are they not being treated properly for their initial malady, but they could also suffer further ill effects due to the error. A medication error can cause a person intense pain and suffering, and depending on the severity of the mistake, could change the trajectory of a person's life forever, especially if the harms suffered result in a permanent disability.

Therefore, those who are harmed due to a medication error that could have been prevented may want to explore their legal options. Depending on the facts of their case, they may be able to pursue legal action against the responsible parties. These parties might include the prescribing physician, the pharmacist who dispenses the drug or the medical facility where the patient is being treated. However, because these types of cases can be very complex, some people choose to consult with legal professionals who can help them determine what steps to take moving forward.

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