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Prescription errors occur when a medical professional fails to correctly prescribe medication to a patient.
Prescription errors can be wide ranging, from medical staff failing to prescribe dosages of medication to a patient within recommended guidelines, to prescribing medication to patient which they are known to be allergic to, to failing to prescribe any medication at all.
Prescription errors can, in some circumstances, be extremely serious and may lead to the death of a patient. For example, where a patient is prescribed medication which they are allergic to, they can go into anaphylactic shock and suffer a cardiac arrest. Further, a failure to prescribe prophylactic thrombolytic medication to a patient who is at high risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT) following surgery, can result in that patient developing a DVT leading to them suffering a fatal pulmonary embolism.
The sole purpose of prescribing prophylactic thrombolytic medication to high risk patients following surgery is to reduce the risk of them developing a DVT.
The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) have issued specific Guidelines relating to the use prophylactic thrombolytic treatment and these can be found at NICE Clinical Guideline 92 (Venous thromboembolism: reducing the risk).