Wrongful death and prescription errors

Prescription errors take place all the time -- and the results can range from the benign to total devastation and death.

If you take any kind of medication, it's important to be aware of some specific dangers that you -- and those you may love -- face as a result:

1. Prescribing mistakes

Doctors sometimes make mistakes that lead to fatal prescription complications. For example, a doctor who doesn't pay enough attention to a patient's chart could accidentally prescribe penicillin -- a common antibiotic -- to someone that's deathly allergic to it.

Doctors also fail to exercise reasonable amounts of care when they prescribe something without carefully checking for interactions with the drugs a patient is already on. For example, a patient who takes over-the-counter magnesium supplements could have a bad interaction with a new blood pressure medication since magnesium can also lower blood pressure. It's the doctor's responsibility to make the patient aware of the potential problem.

2. Pharmacy risks

Your pharmacist may be fantastic -- but some of the people working behind the counter may be poorly-trained assistants that have little or no education about the medication they're passing out through the drive-thru windows.

Always stop to examine your pills when you get a refill. If a pill you've been taking for a while has changed shape or color and there is no note to explain the difference, don't take it until you have the actual pharmacist check it out.

3. Home dangers

If you are on multiple medications or have significant drug allergies, make sure that there is a list available for emergency responders to follow if you find yourself in a medical crisis.

You also want to take steps to protect the people that you love from accidents. If you have children or grandchildren, make sure that your medications are put in child-safe bottles. Keep powerful medications out of the reach of small children and buy a lock-box for narcotics.

If a fatal accident does occur due to a prescription error, close family members of the deceased should seek legal advice about a wrongful death suit. Wrongful deaths are those that could have been easily prevented with just a small amount of reasonable care.

Source: FindLaw, "Things You Should Know: Taking Prescription Medications," accessed Dec. 01, 2017

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