Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Prescription errors the result of poor handwriting?

We've written before about prescription errors made in hospitals simply because pharmacists and medical staff were unable to read the doctor's handwriting. So while Pennsylvania hospitals are using more sophisticated means for treating their patients, nevertheless doctors remain reluctant to use advancements when it comes to something as simple as informing other individuals what medication and dosage a patient should take.

Errors made due to such miscommunications can often be avoided by a simple click of a computer rather than by writing out a prescription in detail. There are as many as 37 errors for every 100 prescriptions filled when the doctor writes the prescription out by hand. When e-prescription programs are used by doctors this rate falls to 7 errors for every 100 prescriptions filled - which is still unacceptably high but at least an improvement.

Though most errors concerning the filling prescriptions can result in minor maladies or side effects, there are cases where such a mix-up can lead to severe consequences and even death. At least seven percent of such errors do have the potential for serious harm.

When serious harm does result it can lead to long term hospitalization, job loss and a number of other medical complications. For those injured due to mix-ups such as this, attorneys can help clients to at least seek compensation for what has occurred.

It is thought that prescription errors lead to an addition $2 billion in medical costs just at hospitals every year. This does not take into account additional pain and suffering that injured patients must endure. Such errors should not be occurring - especially when there are means for such errors being avoided.

Source: The New York Times, "Chicken Scratches vs. Electronic Prescriptions," by Randall Stross, April 28, 2012

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Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.
20 Stanwix Street, Seventh Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

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