Common Medication Errors: Misreading Decimal Points

Prescription medications provide a wide range of benefits. Some medications, for instance, help regulate blood pressure or fight infections, while others can assist in managing pain. Unfortunately, taking prescription medications can also be dangerous if the wrong type or dosage is prescribed. This is a surprisingly common scenario and can sometimes be attributed to a mistake as simple as misplacing or misreading the decimal point on a drug dosage order. 

The results of these mistakes can be devastating and sometimes even fatal, making it especially important for those whose own loved ones were injured as a result of this kind of medical negligence, to speak with an experienced Florida medication error lawyer about holding the at-fault party accountable. 

The Prescribing Process 

Prescribing medications isn’t a simple process, but requires a careful and methodical approach that involves:

  • Evaluating and defining a patient’s health problem;
  • Specifying the objective of treatment;
  • Selecting the appropriate drug therapy; 
  • Initiating therapy with the proper details;
  • Giving instructions and warnings to the patient; and
  • Evaluating therapy regularly by monitoring treatment results. 

Any misstep in this process can have serious repercussions for patients and could even lead to a medication error. 

Incorrect Decimal Points  

While many people think of medication errors as taking the wrong kind of medicine, these kinds of mistakes are actually defined much more broadly. Administering a wrong dose, for instance, qualifies as a medication error. This type of mistake can often be linked to a healthcare professional’s negligence, as even a physician who follows the proper prescribing protocol could end up making a medication error if he or she doesn’t clearly indicate the proper dosage of a particular drug by ensuring that the decimal point in the dosage order is correct. 

This type of mistake, while simple, can have devastating repercussions, with patients receiving many more (or less) times the amount of medication than was intended. This in turn, could result in a patient overdosing on a medication, which can cause a variety of problems, including organ failure, heart attack, and death. Alternatively, a person could find him or herself taking a dosage that is so low that it essentially becomes ineffective, dangerously delaying actual treatment. 

Misplacing decimal points is surprisingly common in the healthcare field, but is not the only cause of this kind of medication error. A doctor could, for instance, note the dosage properly, but do so in such an illegible manner that the pharmacist can’t read it and prescribes the wrong amount. Fortunately, it is possible to hold doctors, hospitals, and pharmacists accountable for this type of negligence by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. To learn more about this process, please reach out to our legal team today. 

Reach Out to a Member of Our Legal Team Today 

If you or a loved one became ill or were injured because of a medication error, you could be entitled to a damages award, compensating you for related losses. Please call Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum, LLP at 305-371-2692 to learn more about your legal options. We can be reached 24 hours a day.