Almost everyone at some time in their life has visited a doctor and walked away from the doctor’s office with a written prescription form in hand. Careful and thorough study of this prescription often leaves the individual questioning what medication the doctor has prescribed because of the illegibility of the handwritten note. Many individuals are curious as to how a pharmacist will read or interpret the note when it appears the prescription is written in an undecipherable language. While the pharmacist most often correctly reads the prescription and fills the medication request as directed, there are many times that unclear medical abbreviations are used which results in the wrong prescription medication being given to the individual. When medication mistakes are made due to unclear medical abbreviations and an individual suffers an injury as a result, medical malpractice may have occurred.
Unclear medical abbreviations may include both symbols and dose designations and may be hand–written or computer generated. Whatever the cause of the mistake, a medication error due to unclear medical abbreviations can have fatal consequences.
It is reported that over 7,000 people die each year due to medication errors. These are deaths that could have been prevented if prescription medication information had been correctly dispatched between the doctor and the pharmacist. Patients in need of medical treatment are at the mercy of their health care provider to properly prescribe important medications and the pharmacist to correctly supply the needed medications. Individuals trust, sometimes without merit, that their doctor and pharmacist are clearly communicating with one another and believe that professionals such as these will take every precaution to ensure that medical mistakes do not occur. However, medical mistakes such as medication errors do occur due to issues such as the use of unclear medical abbreviations by doctors and pharmacists. When an individual suffers an injury or death as a result of a medication mistake due to unclear medical abbreviations, the victim or their family should seek monetary damages through a medical malpractice claim.
Medical malpractice occurs when a patient is injured or dies as the result of a licensed health care provider’s wrongful, harmful, or negligent acts. When a doctor uses unclear medical abbreviations when writing a prescription for a medication, this increases the risk that a medication error will occur. Health care providers should be certain that the prescription they write is clear, concise, and that no room for misinterpretation exists. If health care providers fail to make certain that the prescription is legible by using unclear medical abbreviations thereby hindering the ability of the pharmacist to read and fill the prescription correctly, the doctor may be held liable for committing medical malpractice. Individuals that have been the victims of medical malpractice may be entitled to financial compensation by those responsible for their injuries to help them recoup lost wages, pay medical bills, and be remunerated for their unnecessary pain and suffering.