Doctor Makes Costly Medication Mistake
Erika Brown visited a Miami doctor before her trip to Ethiopia and Tanzania, where she received a prescription for travel medicine. The medication included a prescription for anti-malaria pills, Atovaquone-Proguanil, and was directed by the doctor to take the pills four times daily. Brown paid a few hundred dollars out of pocket for the medicine after insurance and noticed while on the trip that she was taking far more medication than others. Brown’s mother, a registered nurse, noticed that her prescription dosage was a mistake, and Brown had been prescribed a dosage for someone who has malaria, not someone who is trying to prevent it.
Brown was prescribed what is known as a therapeutic dose, not a preventative dose, of malaria medication. Taking this level of medication has the potential to cause serious side effects to patients who do not have malaria. Common symptoms of anti-malaria medication overdose include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, headaches, and more. When Brown contacted her insurance company after the trip, she was told that they would reeducate her doctor but could not issue a refund on the money she paid out of pocket for the additional medication.
When Cigna and Illumina Medical Centers, where the prescribing physician worked, were contacted they responded with bland statements about acknowledging the frustration of being charged with a treatment that was not necessary by a doctor but refused to admit fault or provide a solution to Brown’s problem. After local news agencies reached out to the companies, they refunded Brown her out of pocket costs for the anti-malaria medication within the week. Experts recommend that if you are planning a trip outside of the United States that you visit a travel medicine physician to meet your medical needs.
Medication errors can happen at every stage of medical treatment in the prescribing, dispensing, and giving of medications to patients. According to research, between 7,000 and 9,000 people die every year in the United States due to prescription medication errors. In addition, hundreds of thousands of other patients experience but do not always report adverse reactions to medication errors. The total cost of treating medication errors can top $40 billion every year. In addition, patients suffer physical, emotional, and psychological pain associated with being prescribed an incorrect medication.
Medication errors occur at many different stages of patient care, including during the ordering, prescribing, documenting, transcribing, dispensing, administering, and monitoring of medications but happen most often during ordering or prescribing the medication to patients. The most common errors at this point in the process include writing down the wrong dose, route, or medication. These account for almost fifty percent of all medication errors.
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Call our office or contact us today at Gary Roberts & Associates if you or someone you know has been injured by a medication error prescribed by a doctor or other medical professional. Schedule an appointment to review the facts of your case with one of our experienced West Palm Beach medical malpractice attorneys.