Posted in: Feb 07,2023|
Medication errors can occur at any point during a patient’s treatment. An incorrectly filled prescription or improper dosage can cause a patient to suffer permanent or even fatal complications. Adverse reactions to medication errors can include cardiac arrest, allergic reactions, liver damage, and more. Doctors and pharmacists are held to very high safety standards to protect patients from medication errors, but these mistakes still occur. This post may help you decide whether to take steps to pursue a medication errors lawsuit.
Types of Medication Errors
There are many different types of medication errors that can result in patient harm. The following are some of the most common forms of medication negligence or malpractice:
Dangerous Drug Interactions
Some drugs and over-the-counter medicines can become dangerous when taken together. Doctors who prescribe medications and pharmacists who fill them must take care not to give a patient a potentially dangerous combination of substances. Necessary precautions include checking for potential interactions when prescribing more than one medicine and taking note of any existing drugs the patient takes before administering new treatment. Failure to take these measures can result in a dangerous combination.
Suppose your medical professional knew the medications you were already taking before treating you and prescribed a new drug that conflicted with existing prescriptions. In that case, this might be grounds for a lawsuit. Even if they didn’t know of your current medications, failing to review that critical medical history can be considered negligent.
Of course, taking the wrong medication altogether could cause a patient to needlessly suffer additional complications on top of the condition for which they sought treatment in the first place. Existing conditions could also go untreated and become more advanced. The treating physician might prescribe the wrong medicine, or the pharmacist might fill the prescription incorrectly. In either case, if damages result, you may have a claim for medical malpractice.
Even when doctors prescribe the correct medication, they can cause the patient severe damage if they prescribe the wrong dose. The incorrect dosage—either too low or too high—can be dangerous. Similarly, if a doctor or pharmacist provides the patient with the incorrect strength or instructions on how often or for how long to take a medication, injury or illness can result. Something as simple as a typographical error made by a medical assistant or digital system could also cause severe or fatal consequences.
It is imperative that a doctor reviews a patient’s medical history and allergy information before prescribing medication. Failure to evaluate a patient’s allergy history could result in a dangerous allergic reaction.
Other potentially damaging medication errors include:
- Prescribing (or overprescribing) opiates to a patient with a history of addiction.
- Failing to warn patients about serious side effects or potential risks.
- Improperly prescribing unnecessary drugs for financial or other professional incentives.
Who is Responsible for a Medication Error?
Medication errors can be the fault of the doctor who prescribed the medicine or the pharmacist who filled the prescription. Suppose another medical professional, such as a nurse or a clinical assistant, incorrectly enters patient data or is otherwise responsible for the error that led to your damages. In that case, they may also be held accountable.
Can I Sue for Medication Errors?
You may be able to file a lawsuit against a doctor, nurse, hospital, pharmacy, or other medical professional if it’s determined that their medication error constitutes medical malpractice.
Medication errors are a leading category of successful medical malpractice cases, with approximately 90 percent of cases settling outside of court before going to a trial.
It isn’t enough to show that a doctor or pharmacist made a mistake. To file a successful medical malpractice lawsuit, your attorneys must prove that a physician or pharmacist failed to provide the expected level of care that a medical professional with the same training would and should have administered under similar circumstances. Second, you must prove that their negligence directly caused or significantly contributed to your injuries and resulting damages.
Bring Your Case and Questions to Montross Miller
An experienced medical malpractice lawyer at Montross Miller can help you prove all the necessary elements of a medication error lawsuit. Suffering from a medication mistake or prescription error can be a scary experience, but you don’t need to go through it alone. Montross Miller is well-versed in medication-error cases and highly experienced in complex medical malpractice lawsuits.
The attorneys at Montross Miller will take your case personally, answering your questions and helping you find a path forward. Contact the Montross Miller team today for a free, private consultation.