Each year more than 1.25 million Americans suffer from medication errors made by physicians, hospitals, and pharmacies. With the rise in the number of Americans taking prescriptions, the number of errors will only continue to increase.
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A medical malpractice attorney can hold medical professionals responsible for administering the wrong medication on numerous grounds, including:
Giving the patient the wrong dose of medicine is by far the most common cause of death or injury in a drug related malpractice suit. Rough estimates show that almost 25 percent of patients in hospitals receive the wrong dose, and nearly 20 percent of patients take the wrong dose home from the pharmacy.
Dosing errors occur for many reasons:
- Misreading the prescription
- Human error in the chain from doctor to nurse to pharmacist to patient
- Mislabeled medications
No matter what the cause, a medical malpractice attorney may seek compensation where a medical professional demonstrated clear negligence in administering the correct dosage.
Incomplete Patient Information
Almost 12 percent of Americans take 3 or more prescription drugs, and another 6.5 percent take 4 or more. All of these prescribed chemicals in the body create the potential for deadly drug interactions.
Both doctors and pharmacists can held responsible for allowing a patient to take a drug that has harmful interactions. Doctors must obtain detailed patient profiles, that include information about what drugs the patient is taking, and what known allergies exist. When a doctor gets in a hurry, or stops paying attention, the information is overlooked and damage occurs.
Pharmacists are an even more likely target for a medical malpractice attorney. Part of a pharmacist’s job is keeping records of all drugs a patient is on, and what potential interactions exist.
Side effects are an acceptable risk for patients when they start taking a drug; however, some doctors fail to receive informed consent from patients before prescribing drugs with powerful side effects.
Some side effects are an inconvenience, but rarely lead to serious injuries or death. On the other hand, doctors who do not inform patients that drugs may cause drowsiness, suicidal thoughts, or other life threatening side effects risk lawsuits from a medical malpractice attorney.
When a medical professional hands a patient a prescription bottle, the patient assumes the medication will ease their pain, not cause new pains. A medical professional that violates the patient’s trust through neglect or ignorance can and should be held legally accountable for those actions.