Causes of medication errors

A common problem in Panama City that is becoming more prevalent in the healthcare community is medication errors. More patients are receiving the wrong types and doses of medications for their conditions. This increases their risk of suffering complications from their ailments, developing new conditions and even dying significantly. According to ProPublica, injuries and complications that are related to medication errors are preventable in 59 percent of cases. People who rely on medication should make themselves aware of the common reasons that such errors occur so they can protect themselves.

Improper labeling

The use of barcodes and computerized labeling is not a common standard in some healthcare facilities and nursing homes. Many prescriptions may have the wrong labeling. Workers may not have the ability to read or understand the writing or labels on them. Places that do use computerized systems to track their medications may have issues with regulation because some drugs are placed next to medications that have similar names. This makes it easy for nurses and caregivers to make mistakes in selection, especially if they are in a rush.


Sometimes workers get distracted. This can lead to confusion and ultimately medication errors and harm to patients. For example, a nurse is in the medication room getting chlordiazepoxide for a patient. Instead, because she is engaged in conversation with a coworker, she accidentally grabs chlorpromazine. She fails to check the drug label with the information that is listed in the patient’s chart and proceeds to administer what she believes is the right medication. Both drugs can affect brain function and alter moods. However, when they are used for the wrong patient, the consequences are often severe and life-altering.

Workload and environment

Many caregivers and healthcare providers work long hours and have heavy caseloads. They may see numerous patients each workday. Fatigue can result in them giving less attention to the labels of the medications they are handling and the patients they are supposed to go to. Also, there could be environmental issues such as building problems, accessibility, temperature and other concerns that can increase the likelihood of workers making mistakes with medication administration.

Healthcare workers are human, and they make mistakes too. Many of those errors are preventable when extra attention and precaution is given to patients, their medical histories and drug labeling. Caregivers and healthcare workers should continue to update their training and education so they are aware of common drug mistakes, how to avoid them and how to properly counteract them if necessary. If you are dealing with a situation that involves medication errors, you should discuss things with an attorney so you can learn more about your options.

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