Modern medicine relies heavily on the use of drugs to cure a patient’s ailments or, at least, to make the patient’s symptoms more bearable. This is true to such an extent that a Kentucky resident almost expects to receive, or be told to take, some type of medicine whenever they go to the doctor.
Generally speaking, medicine is an important part of a patient’s overall treatment plan that will hopefully put the patient on the road to a full recovery. However, as Kentucky residents can probably guess, it is possible for a doctor to make a mistake in prescribing, recommending or administering medicine. These mistakes can unfortunately prove serious and leave a patient in a worsened or even dangerous medical condition.
For example, many common medicines, when taken in combination with certain other medicines, can lead to overdoses or severe side effects. It is therefore very important for a doctor who is prescribing a medicine to know what his or her patient’s medical needs are and what medicines the patient is already taking.
Medication errors are most often caused by poor communication. For instance, a doctor may neglect to check a patient’s prior history or speak with the patient’s other medical professionals before prescribing a medicine and thereby overlook an important detail. In other cases, the doctor does not take the appropriate amount of time with the patient to make sure he or she has a thorough and accurate understanding of the patient’s ongoing needs and treatments. Confusing abbreviations or drugs that look alike or even sound alike are also common causes of medication errors.
While patients should of course do their part to prevent medication errors, it is ultimately the doctor’s responsibility to make sure medication gets administered safely and correctly. When a doctor fails in this responsibility, an injured Kentucky patient may be able to file a medical malpractice action to get compensation.