Doctor's Prescriptions
Am I Safe Relying on a Doctor’s Recommended Dose of Prescriptions?

by Jeffrey J. Kroll

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there are more than 20,000 prescriptions that are approved for marketing in the United States. The Health Policy Institute recently noted about two-thirds of U.S. adults take prescription medications.

Globally, the World Health Organization announced that there are millions of adults that are harmed or die each year due to unsafe healthcare. While an individual has an absolute right to receive safe and quality healthcare, that same individual also has a responsibility to be an active partner in their own healthcare. Specifically, with medications they are prescribed.

A recent study reported out of South Africa indicates that 40% of medication errors go unnoticed and unreported, mainly due to fear of punishment and the misconception that no “serious” harm occurs, making reporting believed to be unnecessary; an unreported medication nothing more than an euphemism for potential injury or death. Obviously, as a patient, we rely on our physicians who have the training and knowledge of the different medications, including the interplay of various medications, what side effects they may have, and whether those same medications are able to be taken with other medications.

Open communication with your healthcare provider will help you understand your medication plan. Here are some tips on how you can ensure the safe use of your medications:

  • Ask questions. Do not be afraid to ask questions about your condition(s), diagnosis, treatment, medications, or any other area that may concern you. Make sure you understand and corroborate what your healthcare provider is telling you and remember, always follow instructions.
  • Check first. Before you take a medication, make sure you know what the medication is for. Not only what it is for, but how it works, what the benefits are, and if there are alternatives available. When I say alternatives, I am not just talking about a generic brand; maybe there is an alternative with less risks than the medication provided or recommended by the physician.
  • Know your medical history. Obviously, keep a record of your medical history, including any allergies, chronic conditions, or medications you have taken or are currently taking. Share this with your provider. This can help prevent errors and complications.

The medical malpractice attorneys at Kaveny + Kroll are all too familiar with medication and medical errors. If you have a question about a possible medication or medical error, contact the Kaveny + Kroll attorneys at (312) 761-5585 for a free consultation.