Opioids were involved in 24 percent of liability claims related to medication according to a report from a Boston insurance company. The report looked at approximately 10,000 currently closed medical claim cases that had been filed between 2012 and 2016. Patients were also likely to have medication claims related to the use of anticoagulants. They made up another 16 percent of all claims related to medication liability.
One way to keep patients safe may be to increase the level of communication that they have with their health care providers. It may also be worthwhile to put more of a priority on ensuring that seemingly routine decisions related to providing medical care are better thought out. In 15 percent of opioid claims, it was alleged that doctors had acted in an inappropriate manner toward patients. According to the insurer, fewer mistakes are being made because of new safety steps such as putting barcodes on medication and going through self-assessments.
There are several scenarios in which medication errors may be most likely. In general, very young and very old patients may pose issues because of their specific dosing requirements. The first and last steps in the providing of care may be the most vulnerable to mistakes. These steps include prescribing the medication as well as monitoring a patient after taking it.
Medication errors are one of the leading causes of medical malpractice claims, with the number one cause being diagnostic mistakes. Patients or their family members who have been harmed in such a fashion might want to meet with an attorney to see what recourse might be available.