Poor handwriting can lead to medication errors

If the pharmacy gives you the wrong medication, it could be due to an error on their end, but some studies have shown that the fault may actually lie with your doctor. If he or she has very poor handwriting, the pharmacy could inadvertently give you the wrong medication — or the wrong amount — all while thinking that the prescription is being filled properly.

This happened to one man who was given Synthroid instead of Rythmol. The man, who was 73 years old, had been dealing with a cardiac arrhythmia for some time, and he’d been taking Rythmol for at least three years. However, the pharmacy gave him Synthroid, and he quickly started to feel sick. He had an irregular heartbeat, his was sweaty, and he was dealing with nausea. After about two weeks without a change in symptoms, he began investigating, and the mistake was found.

The man was all right, as they were able to stop his using the Synthroid and get him back on Rythmol after talking to his doctor, but this story shows how easily a mistake can be made. The man even noted that the pills didn’t look right, but he was not a medical expert and simply trusted that he was being given the right medication — just as he had for years.

Studies have found that errors are made on over 20 percent of handwritten prescriptions. Doctors have relied on these for decades, but they could do more harm than good. Those who have been harmed by taking the wrong medication, after this type of a mix-up, need to know if they can seek compensation in Ohio.

Source: Patient Safety Network, “Bad Writing, Wrong Medication,” Beth Devine, accessed Aug. 08, 2016