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How costly are medication errors in the U.S.?

As we mentioned last week on our Joliet medical malpractice law blog, medication errors are very serious medical mistakes. When a child receives a dose of a medication that is too much for his or her body to handle, the child could suffer fatal injuries from an overdose. Other patients could suffer complications from drug interactions or allergic reactions. Doctors could also put patients' health at risk by prescribing drugs for inappropriate purposes or uses.

These mistakes are dangerous, and medication errors are also very costly. When a victim dies from a medication error, the victim's family may need to recover compensation to pay for the victim's funeral expenses. When patients do survive complications caused by medication errors, patients may still be left with costly hospital bills and other medical expenses.

According to a report from Health Affairs, medication errors cost billions of dollars every year in the U.S. Patients should understand that when they are harmed by medication errors made by nurses and doctors, patients should never be responsible for the financial consequences of such serious and costly mistakes.

Medication errors range from prescribing the wrong dose of a medication to prescribing the wrong medication entirely. Some medication errors include prescribing medications without asking patients whether they have any allergies to drugs. And sometimes doctors prescribe several medications without considering whether the medications could interact with each other and cause serious or fatal side effects.

These errors affect as many as 1. 5 million patients every year in the U.S., researchers claim. Medication errors are also preventable in most situations. This means hundreds of thousands of patients suffer minor, serious and fatal complications from mistakes that are avoidable.

Injuries and medical care resulting from medication errors can add up to $3.5 billion in expenses every year. Researchers claim that these expenses from medication errors don't even include related costs such as lost wages or lost productivity when victims are unable to work as a result of their injuries caused by medication errors.

Source: VOXXI, "Medical errors costing the nation lives and more than $17B annually," Hope Gillette, Jan. 22, 2013

  • Our firm provides counsel to patients and their families who have been harmed by devastating medication errors. When Illinois patients are harmed by medication errors, they may be able to recover compensation for any injury-related costs such as medical expenses, lost wages, and even pain and suffering. To learn more about our firm and practice, please visit our Joliet medical malpractice lawyer page.

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