While prescription medications can be beneficial, they can also be dangerous if dispensed or used improperly. With over 100,000 deaths a year due to adverse reactions to medication, it's no surprise that there are wrongful death suits associated with prescription medications. Doctors and pharmacists are human, making them vulnerable to making mistakes. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you get a prescription to protect yourself and to ensure necessary evidence in the event of a problem.
Keep Your Medication List Up to Date
Create a list of the medications that you're taking, including dosage information, what the medication is for and who prescribed it to you. If you take any over-the-counter supplements or medications, include those on your list too. You'd be surprised at how many prescription medications can have negative interactions with over-the-counter medications and supplements.
Bring a copy of the list to your physician every time it changes, and keep a copy with you when you go to the pharmacy. The information is essential for your doctor or pharmacist to identify any potential conflicts between medications. Providing this record to the pharmacy not only reduces the risk of negative reactions, but also ensures that the information was available to the pharmacist if your family needs the evidence in a wrongful death suit.
Make Sure Your Prescription Is Clear
Some prescription errors can be avoided if you ensure that the prescription that your doctor writes is clear. Anticipate any questions that the pharmacist may have about the prescription and ask your doctor about them directly. Many doctor's offices have started sending prescriptions to the pharmacy digitally or printing them for legibility, but some older doctors still prefer handwritten prescriptions.
Your doctor's handwriting should be clear enough to eliminate any uncertainties when filling the medication. Consider photocopying all of your handwritten prescriptions so that you have a copy in case the doctor's handwriting legibility is called into question in court. Make sure your family members know where these copies are stored so that they can provide them if necessary.
Always Check the Inserts
Those paper inserts that come with your medications are far more important than you may realize. Those documents are intended to provide you with complete details about the medication you've been prescribed, what it looks like, the conditions it's used to treat, any potential side effects that you could expect and any negative interactions with other medications.
Read through these inserts before you start taking any new medication, because it helps you understand how to take it, too. Store the inserts for any medication you're taking along with your other medical records. Those inserts can be valuable evidence in the event of a wrongful death case, especially if there's information that wasn't disclosed in the insert that should have been.
Always Request a Pharmacist Consultation
Most pharmacies offer you the option of having a consultation with the pharmacist any time you fill a new medication. Take advantage of this opportunity to speak to the pharmacist directly.
Ask him or her specifically about the medication, how you should take it, and what you need to know about the potential side effects. Then, to ensure that you've received the right pill, ask the pharmacist to describe it for you while you check it against the description on the insert.
Most pharmacies keep records of consultations, so they'll be able to show that you talked with the pharmacist when you got the prescription. That way, if there are any mistakes that aren't identified in the consultation, your family can show that the pharmacist had ample opportunity to identify them.
The more proactive you are about validating your prescription information and the medications you've received, the better your chances are of catching a mistake before it becomes serious. That proactive approach also provides valuable documentation for a wrongful death attorney in the event that something should go wrong. Click here for more information.