Every day, people all around the U.S. pick up prescription medication at their local pharmacies. They trust that these prescriptions are filled with the correct dosage of the right medicine. But what happens when that is not the case?
As consumers in the American healthcare system, we trust our medical providers to keep us from harm. We also – perhaps less consciously – depend on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure that the drugs we receive are safe. When you pick up a prescription from the pharmacy, the process that went into creating that drug probably doesn’t even cross your mind.
Doctors use anesthesia to help make your operation — and recovery — as painless as possible. But a mistake in administering anesthesia can result in added pain and recovery time for you.
In a world so focused on safety, wrongful death seems like a term that should be seen less and less. Precautions are taken with cars and electronics to make them as safe as possible. But some dangers aren’t being addressed to the same degree.
Opioid addiction continues to plague our communities, damaging families and reportedly taking the lives of more than 100 Americans every day. The persistent overprescription of opioids has led to countless victims that suffer unnecessary and avoidable addiction.
Imagine your mother suffered from chronic migraines. She tried everything to treat them—over-the-counter medication, acupuncture, physical therapy—but nothing seemed to work. Nearly every day of her life was filled with incapacitating pain. Finally she went to a doctor who prescribed OxyContin® to treat her condition. It was like a miracle drug. After years of suffering, she was finally able to resume life as normal.
Last week, we examined the unexpected and potentially devastating side effects of Ambien--the world's number one sleep aid. We talked about cases of well-intentioned patients who took the medication as prescribed before bed into order to help them fall asleep. They then awoke to a horrid discovery: that they had committed atrocious crimes in their sleep--without any intention or knowledge of what they were doing.
Since its release into the market over a decade ago, Ambien has become a ubiquitous name in the medical industry. It has been shown to induce sleep in about 20 minutes, and people all over the world have sworn by its efficacy. It has quickly become the number one prescription sleep aid as well as one of the top-selling prescription drugs in the United States—more widely consumed that Percocet or prescription-strength Ibuprofin. Its generic version—Zolpidem—sells for just $2 per pill, making it affordable to most consumers.
Older readers will remember the commercial tagline "Without chemicals, life itself would be impossible." Monsanto put it out there back in the 1970s. These days, with all the attention on the environment and the effects of human activity upon it, many might be inclined to take a dim view of chemical production. However, that Monsanto line still carries some weight, especially when you consider how necessary chemicals are in the making of medications.
Medication errors are a common type of medical error observed in the health care industry. In many cases, medication errors are preventable. These errors can be traced back to physicians, of course, in the prescription of medications, but also to pharmacists who prepare and dispense the medication, nurses who administer the medication, and the health care administration responsible for supervising medication-related matters.