When you report your symptoms to your doctor or check into a hospital, you place your trust in the facility and the professionals that it employs. Patients have the right to expect that medical treatment will adhere to a certain standard of care.

Most people also trust that the professionals taking care of them will be cautious and thoughtful and their practice of medicine. Unfortunately, thousands of patients every year wind up disappointed in those expectations when they suffer injuries or suffer other severe consequences because of medical malpractice.

Medication errors are among the most common medical mistakes, and they can also be some of the most dangerous.

What is a medical mistake, and how do these mistakes happen?

A medication error involves any preventable mistake in the prescription or administration of a drug. There are many different kinds of medication errors that can occur.

A physician could prescribe a drug that has a dangerous interaction with another medication a patient takes. A nurse might give someone the wrong dose of a drug, administer the medication at the wrong time or give them the wrong medication altogether. A pharmacist can put the wrong medication into pill containers, make mistakes when compounding a drug or even improperly dose IV fluid while blending it for a patient.

Medical professionals should not make these kinds of mistakes because they should pay close attention to what they do. Medication mistakes are often the result of distraction, negligence or even understaffing at a facility.

What can you do after a medication error?

Patients should be able to trust in the professionals and facilities providing them with medical care. When medication errors with a serious consequence occur, the person who suffered that medication error may have the right to bring a medical malpractice claim against the doctor or the facility.

In a situation where someone dies because of a medication mistake, their surviving family members might be able to pursue a malpractice claim. In some circumstances, a medical malpractice claim will result in an insurance payout. Other times, it may be necessary to take the issue to court. In both situations, you will likely need support and guidance.