Before any medical provider prescribes you medication, they should have carried out certain checks and have a full comprehensive knowledge of what they are prescribing you. Prescription medication errors can be extremely serious and cause long-lasting injuries, even the wrongful death of the patient. There are a number of ways that a medication error can lead to injury, such as the wrong medication being given, the wrong dosage of the medication being given, double dosages and interactions with current medication or conditions. Another common error is medication being given to a patient that is allergic to something in the medication.
Your medical providers owe you a duty of care and this means they should follow all of the rules and systems of practice before giving medication. When they do not follow the standard medical practices or act negligently, and you have suffered injury as a result, this may be grounds for a medical malpractice claim.
Medical malpractice claims allow victims to hold their medical providers accountable for their negligence. By raising a claim, you can pursue compensation for your suffering and recover any damages you have incurred as a result of the malpractice.
Here at Peter Angelos Law, we deal with medical negligence cases on a daily basis in Maryland, and if your doctor failed to check your medical records or your nurse has given you the wrong medication, you should contact one of our team immediately. We can help you recover your medical bills and hold the prescribing doctor or health care provider accountable.
Every single day, millions of Americans across the country rely on their medication to keep them healthy, and a huge number of patients in hospitals need specialist medication to help them recover from their injuries and conditions.
Some medications, such as antibiotics or blood pressure medication allow for victims to live with life-long conditions, managing them in a way that allows them to live a normal life.
There are countless prescription medications that can be given to a patient, and it is down to the prescribing provider to ensure the medication is correct. They are trained in the knowledge of what drugs should be prescribed, as well as their risks and side effects. It should never be down to the patient to educate themselves on these risks and you should be able to pursue medical aid from a provider without fear of the wrong medication being given.
Different Types of Medication Error
There are a wide variety of different errors that can occur when it comes to prescribing medication to a patient and because these errors may not be apparent straight away, it may take several days or weeks before an error is discovered. By this point, the damage may have already been done.
Unfortunately, many patients never realize a medication error has happened, and when they do, it can be difficult for them to investigate what happened.
The most common examples of medication error are:
- Wrong drug
- Allergic reaction
- Double dosage
- Wrong dose
- Wrong route of administration
- Wrong patient
- Drug name mistakes
- Wrong frequency
- Unauthorized drug use
- Improper drug handling
- Lack of patient monitoring
- Poor medical records
Drug Name Mistakes/Abbreviation Confusion
Many of the drugs used in the United States have confusing names or use outdated terminology. In the past, a lot of the medications utilized shorthand or Latin terms and still do to this day. This means that these abbreviations or Latin names are often deciphered wrong, leading to errors.
Administering a Drug Wrong
Certain drugs are taken orally, and some need to be administered through I.V. drips. Some drugs are taken in eye drops or a topical cream. These drugs may not be effective or may even be dangerous if they have been administered in a manner that is different from the intended.
Some drugs, while extremely effective at the right dosage, can be fatal at the wrong dosage. In some cases, medical providers may mix up micrograms and milligrams, and this can mean a dosage is given that can easily be 1000x stronger than it was meant to be.
Dosage errors often happen at home too. If your medical provider prescribed you medication but has been unclear or given you the wrong instructions on how to dose that medication, then you may end up taking a higher dosage than prescribed.
Many drugs that are commonly used in the American medical system have very similar names to other, completely different drugs. Drugs like chlorpromazine and chlorpropamide, for example, or prednisone and prednisolone.
Shockingly, around 25% of all medication errors occur because there was confusion when it came to similar-sounding drug names.
Wrong Patient Errors
Often, in a hospital ward, there are several patients sharing a single room, and this means that there are a number of errors where medication is given to the wrong person. When someone is in need of a certain medication, and they do not receive it, the results can be disastrous. Equally so, if someone is given medication meant for someone else, the medication may worsen their condition.
Medication Timing Errors
Certain medications need to be given at a certain time of day or at a certain frequency. Some drugs need to be hourly for example, and a mix-up may lead to the medication being given twice or not at all on the hourly mark.
Off-label Drug Use
If a doctor is prescribing you a drug that is not FDA approved, they must tell you that the FDA has not approved that drug.
If your medical provider prescribes you a drug for off-label use without telling you, it could put you at risk of other injuries.
Failure to monitor patient reaction to medications can lead to injury or even death in extreme cases. When a patient is taking a new medication, it is important for a healthcare provider to monitor their reactions closely to ensure the medication is working safely and effectively. If a patient is not monitored properly, they may experience adverse reactions to the medication, such as an allergic reaction or a side effect that could cause serious harm or even death.
In addition, failure to monitor patient reactions to medications can lead to a dangerous situation if the patient is taking multiple medications at once. When taking multiple medications, a patient may experience unexpected and potentially serious interactions between the different medications.
If a healthcare provider fails to monitor a patient’s reaction to multiple medications, the patient may experience an adverse reaction that could result in serious injury or even death.
Where did the error lie?
As a patient, it may be hard to uncover where the error in medication occurred. When a patient has been prescribed medication, they may then have to fill it themselves at the pharmacy. This means the error could have been down to the prescribing doctor or the pharmacist.
The best way to understand where the error occurred is to consult with a medical malpractice attorney.
The Process of Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit for Medication Errors
If you believe you are the victim of medical malpractice due to a medication or prescription error, you may be able to file a malpractice claim against the medical provider responsible. In order to file a medical malpractice claim, you must first determine if the medical provider was negligent in their care.
To do this, you must show that the medical provider failed to provide the appropriate care according to the standard of care for the medical profession. Once you have determined that negligence has occurred, the next step is to file a malpractice claim against the medical provider.
This is typically done through a medical malpractice attorney. A malpractice attorney will evaluate the facts of your case and advise you on the best course of action. They will also ensure that all necessary paperwork is filed with the court and that you are adequately represented in the case.
When filing a medical malpractice claim, it is important to provide as much evidence as possible to support your case. This may include the medical provider’s records, medical reports, and any other relevant documentation. If you are able to, it is also advisable to provide testimony from medical experts that can provide insight into the medical provider’s negligence.
Once the claim is filed, the medical provider will be notified, and a hearing will be scheduled. At this hearing, both parties will present evidence and make arguments in support of their case. After evaluating the evidence, the court will then make a decision and award any damages that may be owed.
Filing a medical malpractice claim against a medical provider for medication or prescription errors can be a complex process. It is important to seek representation from a qualified malpractice attorney to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process.
Contact Peter Angelos Law
Here at Peter Angelos Law, our law firm has worked with numerous clients who have suffered injuries due to medication errors. We help victims hold those responsible accountable for their actions and help them pursue compensation for the pain and suffering they have been through, as well as the recovery of any damages they have incurred as a result of the mistake.
Contact us today at 410-705-2405.