Medication Errors

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Hospitals are obligated to provide the correct medicine to the right patient, in the proper dose, for the right reason. Nonetheless, medication errors in hospitals are ubiquitous—a patient will likely endure, on average, at least one medication error every day. At least 1.5 million medication errors occur every year in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and outpatient clinics,and each day as many as 120 patients die in hospitals as a result. If you are handling a medication error case, you first need to know how hospital medication systems work and why mistakes occur.

A medication error is defined as “any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the health care profes- sional, patient, or consumer.” These errors happen for various reasons, but almost all are the result of systemic failures in the medical facility. When adverse events occur, hospitals use a root cause analysis to identify a problem’s origin. You should follow a similar process in a medication error case.

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About Susan Dennehy

In 1996, she began her own firm, the Dennehy Law Firm. The firm is devoted exclusively to representing patients and their families in medical safety cases. Her diverse legal experience for both sides gives her a unique perspective on the practice of medicine and the rules that regulate doctors and hospitals.


Susan has lectured nationally on courtroom strategies and has taught trial skills to law students at Cardozo School of Law’s annual trial program. She is a member of the award winning TRIAL magazine publication committee and is a reviewer and author.
Susan Dennehy has achieved the “AV® Peer Review Rating,” the highest distinction awarded by Martindale-Hubbell®. The “AV peer review rating shows that a lawyer has reached the height of professional excellence…and is recognized for the highest levels of skill and integrity.” She is also listed in the 2011 Martindale-Hubbell® Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers and is recognized as one of New York’s Women Leaders in the Law®, 2013 and 2014.

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