Whether you just picked up some medication at the pharmacy or are currently receiving inpatient care at the hospital, you expect that the medical professionals providing your support will do so in a professional manner.
However, even the most experienced and dedicated healthcare worker is only human. They may come to work when they have a migraine or feel distracted and fatigued at the end of a long shift. Issues ranging from distraction to labeling errors could affect the medication a patient receives.
Regardless of the reason why it occurs, a healthcare professional making a mistake during the administration of medication could lead to one of the four negative consequences for a patient listed below.
A dangerous drug interaction
Some medications respond dangerously to the presence of other chemicals in your bloodstream. One drug may have a synergistic effect with another, meaning that they amplify each other’s impact on the body. There are also drugs that cancel one another out or that create completely new physical consequences when combined with one another. When healthcare professionals administer the wrong drug to someone, it may interact with another medication they have recently taken.
Excess medication can cause harm to the human body. Having too much of certain active compounds in a patient’s bloodstream can damage their renal system, for example. A medication mistake where someone receives the wrong drug, the wrong dose or the right medication at the wrong time could potentially lead to a severe injury or fatality related to overdose.
Reduced treatment effectiveness
A mistake regarding the drugs that someone receives might mean that the treatment they undergo is less effective than it would otherwise be. Missing doses of an antibiotic, for example, might mean that the bad bacteria continue to procreate and put someone at risk.
Severe side effects
Some medications are known to have major side effects, and those side effects can be particularly severe if someone takes other medication or has certain underlying health conditions. A patient who receives the wrong medication could develop long-term side effects, such as damage to an organ, as the result of receiving the wrong drug.
Any of these consequences could lead to poor outcomes for patients and increased medical costs. Pursuing a medical malpractice claim may be an option for someone harmed by a medication error in a professional environment.