Medical Malpractice: Prescription Errors
As a medical patient, we trust that our medical professionals are doing everything in their power to help us feel better. However, despite much technical advancement in the health sector, medical injuries still continue to rise.
Medical malpractice comes in many forms. Much of these malpractice issues will come to be because the medical professional failed to do something. This can be known as a medical negligence. Medical negligence means that the health care practitioner has failed to exercise a certain degree of reasonable care or skill. When filing for a claim, however, the degree of negligence will be determined based on the tools available to the medical professional. This is especially true if the negligence relates to general knowledge or specialized knowledge that the medical professional failed to administer.
If you or someone you know has been injured by a medical professional or under the care of a hospital, speak to a qualified medical malpractice attorney. An attorney with the right knowledge can help you determine what type of medical malpractice ensued and what you can do about it. This article will help to explain one form of medical negligence: prescription drug errors.
Defining Prescription Drug Error
There are many different forms of prescription drug errors. The following could be considered prescription drug errors:
- Administering the incorrect treatment for the patient
- Administering the incorrect dosage for the patient in question
- This could be in the form of too much medication or too little medication
- Administering a drug that the patient is allergic to
- Mislabeling a medication
- Not making sure that the medication being prescribed does not negatively interact with any other medications the patient could be taking
- Failing to advice or caution a patient of common side effects that transpire due to the medication
Taking Responsibility for the Prescription Drug Error
Generally, all individuals who are involved in the prescription process could be held liable for the injuries or damages sustained by the victim. This could include the following:
- Doctors/ Physicians
- Pharmacy departments with the hospital
- Pharmaceutical manufacturers
Being Given the Incorrect Dosage or the Incorrect Medication
Both doctors as well as nurses could be held responsible for either prescribing or administering the incorrect medication. This can easily happen through a simple mistake. Unfortunately, it is very easy for a medical professional to administer the incorrect amount of medication to a patient. For instance, even administering a medication that is off by a single decimal can prove to be fatal by being too weak or strong of a dosage.
It should also be noted that every medication needs to be administered in its specified manner. For instance, a medication involving a shot will need to be administered in a certain place, depending on the type of medication being given. More specifically, certain shots need to be administered directly into a patient’s bloodstream whereas others should only be administered to a patient’s muscle tissue. If a shot has been given in the incorrect place, the medical professional that administered the shot can be held liable for the negligence committed.
In today’s society, many medical professionals have moved away from handwritten prescriptions. Instead, many now opt to electronically send a prescription to your preferred pharmacy. While this method is more common, it is not used in every medical facility. Unfortunately, handwritten prescriptions pose a serious risk to patients. This is because handwritten prescriptions can be easily misread or misinterpreted due to poor penmanship. Based on the prescription, the liability can fall under the medical doctor who wrote the incorrect medication or the pharmacy, who incorrectly interpreted the prescription. An attorney can investigate and determine where the fault lies. In many cases, the doctor sent the correct prescription, but the pharmacy either filled it incorrectly or provided the wrong directions.
A mislabeled medication can carry two different forms of lawsuits. One can involve a products liability suit and the other, a medical malpractice lawsuit. A products liability lawsuit will apply if the manufacturing company behind the medication mislabeled the medication. This manufacturer will then be held liable for the injuries the patient may have sustained. In a medical malpractice case, the pharmacist who mislabeled the medication will be held liable for the injuries sustained by the patient. With the help and support of an experienced attorney, you will be able to identify what type of lawsuit your case necessitates.
A Failure to Provide a List of Common Side Effects
Giving a list of common side effects could be the responsibility of anyone who gives the patient the medication. This could be:
- The physician
- The nurse
- The pharmacist
These medical professionals have a duty to inform a patient of common side effect that could ensue from taking a medication. This also includes a list of common foods or beverages that the patient should avoid taking that could have effects on the medication or otherwise cause unwarranted symptoms. Medical professionals should always warn about potentially harmful interactions with food and drink.
Filing a Claim for Prescription Drug Error
If you suspect that you were given the incorrect prescription by a medical professional, whether it was through an incorrect dosage or a label misprint, speak to a medical malpractice attorney. As a victim of medical negligence, you have the legal right to file a lawsuit. A qualified attorney will be able to determine what type of case you have and will help to guide you through the claims process.