Why medication errors happen and what they can do


Why Medication Errors Happen

Why do medication errors happen and how can you avoid them? These questions are answered below in a breakdown of state laws and general information on a federal level about medication error compensation.

Modern medicine has been a revolution across the world. Improving the health and lifespan of our population gives us all a chance to live longer, happier lives. The medications that some of us take are critical to those health improvements, but they can also cause serious injury if they are administered incorrectly. Australia sees about 230,000 hospitalisations each year due to medication errors. That is not only expensive for our system, it shows that errors are still a common occurrence in modern healthcare. If you or a loved one has suffered from a medication error, we want to look at what you should do to seek compensation.

What is a Medication Error?

Medication errors are the result of patients being given the wrong medication or the incorrect dose of a drug. In some cases, medication errors can also include having a drug administered at the wrong time of day. However they occur, medication errors have the potential to do serious damage to your health, causing issues like:

  • Dangerous overdoses
  • Harmful drug interactions
  • Issues with pregnancies causing harm to unborn babies
  • Issues and injuries resulting from the improper management of chronic illnesses
  • Damage to your body and organs

How do Medication Errors Occur?

While doctors and medical practitioners go to great lengths to ensure their patients receive the proper treatment, mistakes still happen. A 1995 study from Harvard University found that nurses intercepted approximately 86% of all medication errors in hospitals, but they are unable to prevent them entirely. Some of the most common sources of medication errors are:

  • Healthcare providers. Doctors, nurses and pharmacists may all play a role in administering medication. In most cases, errors are detected and prevented. But, due to factors like misdiagnoses, misdosage, dispensing errors and common mistakes, healthcare professionals can be responsible for medication errors.
  • Patients. Patients can often be the cause of their own errors. Where dosage and timing information is communicated poorly, or if there are language and understanding barriers, patients may take the wrong medication or the wrong doses.
  • Pharmacy. Many medications feature similar labelling and designs, increasing the risk of common errors by the dispensing pharmacist. In most cases, pharmacies have checks in place to prevent errors, but issues may still occur.
  • Dosing problems. Children and some adults can be harmed by incorrect doses that are unsuitable for their size or age group.

Preventing Medication Errors

Your doctor and pharmacist will do their best to ensure the medication you receive is safe and appropriate for your condition. But patients should look after their own health too. We should all make an effort to stay on top of our own medications and the medications of loved ones. Be sure that you have all the information you need, including the name of the medication, the prescribed dose, how long you should be taking the medicine and what to do if you miss a dose. Always administer medications exactly as prescribed by the doctor, and be sure to check the box for proper storage instructions.

If you are ever concerned about a prescription, dosage or the side effects you are experiencing, contact your doctor as soon as possible. Medication errors can have serious consequences and you may require immediate attention.

Can I Claim Compensation for a Medication Error?

Yes, in some cases you may have a medical negligence claim for medication errors. To make a claim against your doctor or a healthcare practitioner, you need to show:

  • That your treatment did not meet reasonable Australian standards, and;
  • That your treatment resulted in some physical or psychological harm or injury, and;
  • That the harm you suffered as a direct result of your doctor’s negligence.

In Queensland, there is a 3-year time limit to claim compensation from a doctor. The time limit begins from the date of the medication error, or, in some cases, it may begin from the date the error or its effects were discovered. If you have been affected by a medication error then it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible.

Have You Suffered From a Medication Error? Contact Your Revolution Lawyer Today

While modern medications are a miracle for many, errors can cause significant physical, psychological and financial harm. If you have been affected by a medication error, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. Claiming compensation for medical negligence can be a complex process. Your local Revolution Lawyer will be able to assess your case and determine whether you are entitled to make a claim against your doctor or healthcare provider. We will do the hard work of making sure you have access to the records and professional testimony you need to pursue your medical negligence claim. Speak to your Revolution Law team today for expert advice on medication errors.

Doyles Recommended Medical Negligence Lawyer


Doyles Recommended Medical Negligence Lawyer

Once again Senior Personal Injury Lawyer Olamide Kowalik has been recognised by the Doyles Guide to be a recommended plaintiff-focused ‘Queensland Medical Negligence & Malpractice Compensation Lawyer’. Olamide heads up the medical negligence compensation team at Revolution Law and it is a privilege to have such a competent justice fighter whose legal expertise and abilities has been recognised by the state’s defendant insurance lawyers.

Medical Negligence Claims are notoriously difficult and complicated. Such a claim can be made when a medical provider breaches their duty of care which then consequently causes damage or injury to the patient. This negligence may look like:

  • Failure to diagnose a condition
  • Supplying the wrong medication
  • Dismissing symptoms or overlooking them
  • Not warning about a treatment risk
  • Surgical error

Due to the complexity of these claims and the time limits that restrict when you can make these claims, it is important to get quality legal advice about whether this form of a compensation claim is an available and good option for you.  The amount of money that your claim is worth is based on the seriousness of your injury or disabilities that you have attained because of the medical provider’s negligence. Olamide has extensive experience in assessing claims in their preliminary stages and determining if making a medical negligence claim is in the best interest of her clients or whether the alternative of making a formal complaint to the medical board is more suitable.

Explore your case with Olamide Kowalik today with a free initial phone consultation.  Call Olamide at Revolution Law on 07 3416 4999.

Ryan’s Rule – Not just for kids

2022-06-28T17:19:29+10:0028/03/2018|Injury, Medical|

Ryan’s Rule – Not just for kids

A lot has been written about Ryan’s Rule and despite this there remains a misconception that Ryan’s Rule can only be applied when the patient is a child. This is absolutely not the case.

As we are heading into the School holiday period with families going on holidays or attending the various Commonwealth games events this article serves as a timely reminder that Ryan’s Rule can be enacted when at a hospital if you as the parent, carer or family member are concerned about the health care being provided to your loved one of any age.

By way of background the Rule came about after Ryan Saunders a 2-year-old toddler boy died in 2007 due to the hospital’s failure to diagnose and to provide appropriate medical care to him. He died from an undiagnosed Streptococcal infection, which led to Toxic Shock Syndrome.

Following Ryan Saunders tragic death, the Coroner, Queensland’s Health Quality and Complaints Commission (now Office of the Health Ombudsman) and Health department were critical of the care provided and recommendations were made and implemented to prevent it happening again.

In summary Ryan’s Rule;

  • Is a three-step process to support patients of any age, their families and carers, to raise concerns if a patient’s health condition is getting worse or not improving as well as expected;
  • applies to all patients admitted to any Queensland Health public hospital and in some Hospital in the Home (HITH) services. It is important to note here that it does not apply in Private Hospital, although other complaints process are available in these hospitals;

The Ryan’s Rule escalation process is as follows:

  • Step 1: Talk to a nurse or doctor about your concerns. If you are not satisfied with the response, go to the next step.
  • Step 2: Talk to the nurse in charge of the shift. If you are not satisfied with the response, go to the next step.
  • Step 3: Phone 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) or ask a nurse to phone for you, and request a Ryan’s Rule Clinical Review. You will need to provide the following:
    • Hospital name
    • Patient’s name
    • Ward and bed number (if known)
    • Your contact number

Once the Rule is enacted, a nurse or doctor will undertake a Ryan’s Rule clinical review of the patient and the treatment they are receiving. This is where for instance any gaps in treatment, diagnosis and/or review of the treatment being provided can be scrutinised.

Ryan’s Rule is implemented as a last resort if all other complaints process highlighted above fails.

Ryan’s Rule gives voice to the parent, carer and family member with legitimate concerns about the health care being provided to their loved ones. No longer do you have to look helpless from the sidelines it provides a sense of empowerment and validity to their concerns.

Share this article with a friend, family member, neighbor or even a stranger it may just help to save a life.

I Don’t Chase Ambulances

2022-06-28T17:20:48+10:0012/03/2018|Injury, Medical|

I Don’t Chase Ambulances!

It might shock you to know that as a Personal Injury Lawyer, Compensation Lawyer or Injury lawyer I do not chase Ambulances.

Compensation lawyers in the mind of the average person seems to conjure the image of a Lawyer with a brief case chasing after an Ambulance.

I can assure you that most Compensation lawyers did not spend four to five years at university, 6-12 months of college of law and then another two years of supervision to chase an ambulance to secure claimants.

It does not help the image when the urban dictionary goes to the trouble of including and defining Ambulance Chasers as; “ an unethical lawyer, especially those who represent plaintiffs in personal injury actions.”

The origin of this popular phrase if Google is to be believed; “……. dates from late 19th century; from reputation gained by certain lawyers for attending accidents and encouraging victims to sue.

And henceforth all who dare to work in the field of compensation were tarnished.

At its core the role of a Compensation Lawyer is to help claimants injured through no fault of their own navigate the complexities or road blocks of accessing their entitlements, so they can get back on track. The compensation lawyer is often;

  • The one who knows the ins and outs of your injury claim;
  • The one who knows the impact of the injury and claims process on you and your family;
  • The one who is there for the highs and lows;
  • The one that listens to you, and
  • The one in your corner from the beginning through to the end of your claim when all others have lost interest in your injury claim.

A Compensation Lawyer typically works in all or some of the following areas;

  • Motor Accident claim;
  • Work Injury Claims;
  • Public Liability Claims;
  • Medical Negligence Claims, and
  • Superannuation/TPD Claims

Just as there are good and bad people there are also good and bad lawyers. Some tough questions to ask before engaging a Compensation Lawyer are;

  • Will you be accessible;
  • Will you return my calls;
  • Are you an expert in your field;
  • Will you be upfront with me;
  • Will you be charging an uplift on the legal fees, and;
  • Are you a lawyer.

The position remains in Queensland that the Compensation Scheme is heavily regulated. Aside from the ethical implications of ‘chasing ambulances,’  it is insulting to suggest or surmise that the only way we are capable of helping those in the need of our services is to queue in front an ambulance or the like.

In summary as a Compensation Lawyer my central motivation remains to help others and I take immense pleasure meeting a claimant for the first time, navigating them through the highs and lows of the compensation process and coming out at the end with an outcome which sets them and their family back on track. To make a living from this is bonus.

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