When most people think of medical malpractice cases, they think about botched surgeries and major medical mistakes during physical procedures. However, medical malpractice can come in many forms. One of the most common—yet often overlooked—forms of medical malpractice is commonly referred to as medication error. Medication error cases occur when someone has been injured (or even killed) due to medication being improperly prescribed or administered .
For a medication error case to be valid, the injured party must be able to prove that their injury was caused by a preventable error that goes beyond reasonable medical risk or decision.
For example: Let’s say a particular person is allergic to a common medication administered to almost all patients who undergo surgical procedures in the hospital. If that patient makes their physician/medical team aware of that allergy, but they are given the medication afterwards because a nurse didn’t look at the chart well enough or because the nurse didn’t input the patient’s allergy into their file, that would be a likely candidate for a medication error case because it occurred due to negligence.
However, let’s say that person came into the hospital in an ambulance after being involved in a car crash. When they were brought in, they were not conscious and could not tell any medical personnel of their allergy. The emergency team administered the medication as per their usual procedure, and only noticed the allergic reaction when the patient’s body reacted poorly. They then administered medication to counter-effect the previous dose. Here, a medication error case would be more difficult to prove, since the mistake was not due to negligence but due to a reasonable medical decision that turned out to have an adverse reaction.
Common Medication Errors
Medication errors should be related to negligence. Some of the more common medication errors that can cause cases include:
- Prescribing the wrong medication through negligence (such as not checking charts or making sure the patient is compatible)
- Administrating or prescribing the wrong dosage strength
- Prescribing multiple medications which are dangerous when taken together
- Overdosing a patient with any medication (including cold medicine, aspirins, and prescription drugs)
- Mislabeling medications, resulting in injury
- Prescriptions being illegible, resulting in the wrong medication being given to the patient
Medication error cases require the knowledge and experience of an attorney experienced in these types of lawsuits. If you believe you have a medication error case, contact a professional attorney who has experience or specializes in medication errors.