Most people trust that when they receive a prescription from their doctor and have it filled, that it will provide them the treatment they require. Unfortunately, sometimes this is not the case. Medication mistakes are more common that people may realize. Errors in medication can cause serious complications or even death. Yet, medication mistakes are preventable when proper care is taken by doctors, pharmacists, and caregivers.

Negligence of Doctors

Doctors are responsible for diagnosing and treating illnesses in their patients. They are required to ensure that the proper diagnosis is made and the correct medication is prescribed. One of the most common types of medication mistakes made by doctors is prescribing a medication “off label”. This means that the medication is prescribed to treat an illness that it was not actually intended for. Doctors also need to make sure that the medications they prescribe do not cause a harmful interaction with other drugs the patient is already taking.

Mistakes at the Pharmacy

Even when a doctor writes the proper prescription, it may not be properly filled by the pharmacy. Pharmacists may make errors in medication strength, dosage, and instructions. These mistakes may not seem dangerous, but they can cause serious medical harm, or even death. Pharmacists are required to take proper care when filling prescriptions. When a mistake is made, the pharmacist and the pharmacy may be negligent, and responsible for any injuries they caused.

Improper Administration of Drugs

Many times, care providers and others are responsible for the administration of medications. This is often the case for patients in hospitals, nursing homes, and other care facilities. All too often, caregivers fail to give medications according to the directions, or fail to provide medications at the right intervals. For example, some medications must be taken with food, while others should be taken on an empty stomach. Additionally, an overdose of medication can cause injuries if too much of the medication is given. Providers who administer drugs must do so using proper care and by following the instructions provided.

Injuries Due to Medication Mistakes

Medication mistakes can cause a number of different injuries. Fortunately, many of these injuries are minor and the patient fully recovers without permanent harm.  Sometimes, the mistakes can cause a patient serious medical trauma, or even death. When a mistake is made it is a medical emergency and patients need to be diagnosed and treated immediately to prevent further damage. When a medical mistake is responsible for serious injury or death of a patient, the victim or family may be entitled to compensation. The negligent party is responsible for payment of medical and other expenses incurred because of the incident.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Medication Mistakes, or any other personal injury, please feel free to contact Brian T. Allen at  480.461.5335,  log on to,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.