Prescription drug errors fall into three main categories – dispensing the wrong medication; giving the patient the wrong drug dosage, and failing to account for known drug allergies or harmful drug interactions with other medications the patient is taking. Several national studies have estimated that up to 8% of medical prescriptions are incorrectly filled. This can result in serious personal injury or death.
A negligence case for medical malpractice can be brought on behalf of the injured person to recover for all his or her injuries. Steven Karp has focused in this field of law for decades – right in this geographic area. He always knows exactly how to proceed with your case.
Pursuing Damages For Medication Errors
In pursuing damages for pharmaceutical medical malpractice, the medical malpractice attorneys at Karp & Hart first collect all the medical records from the treating physician or hospital, and the pharmacy. Subsequently, there is a consult with pharmacology experts who testify about the toxicity of the prescription drug or dosage received, as well as other top experts who show that the pharmacist made an error from a clearly written prescription.
Damages may include past and future medical expenses and past and future medical care required to treat the long-term effects of the harmful medicine. Victims can also collect for lost earnings, loss of the enjoyment of life and pain and suffering. If the loved one died, Steve and Peter can help the family pursue a wrongful death claim against the pharmacy.
With today’s computer software and network technology, programs should alert pharmacists and doctors to dangerous drug interactions. Additionally, hospitals have adopted procedures to ensure patients receive the right prescription drug in the correct amount. Given the tools and safeguards in place, health care providers have no excuse when patients are given the wrong drug or the wrong dose. Unfortunately however, we at Karp & Hart still see prescription medication mistakes being made over and over again.
Types Of Medication Errors
Errors can result from a number of factors. Below are the kinds of negligence we often see:
- Missed Dangerous Drug Interaction Alert.
- Doctor Error involving the type of drug or the amount prescribed.
- Nursing Error involving the type of drug or the amount administered.
- Pharmacy liability: Filling the wrong medication, filling the improper dosage, failing to confirm negative reactions with other medications, failing to warn of the side effects of a drug.
- Dosage error: Prescribing the wrong dose, mathematical errors resulting in dosage errors, administering too much or too little medication
- Anesthesia errors: Administering too much anesthesia resulting in overdose (causing brain damage or wrongful death), administering insufficient anesthesia.
- Other prescription issues: Abusing chemical restraints at a nursing home or assisted living facility, failing to review a patient’s chart for allergies, ensuring a medication does not pose risk of negative interaction with other prescribed medications, other prescription mistakes.
- Dangerous drugs: Prescribing dangerous or defective drugs without warning of the potential hazardous side effects and/or failing to ensure that prescribed medications do not pose threats of allergic reaction.
- Giving the incorrect prescription due to misunderstanding.
- Giving the incorrect prescription due to illegible handwriting.
Prescription drug errors are so common and prevalent in hospitals, nursing homes and long-term care facilities that it has been estimated that an average of one medication error per patient per day is made. While the vast majority of these mistakes may not lead to serious injury, some prescription drug errors can lead to the disability or patient’s death.
Medication Mistakes Are Preventable
Though drug mistakes are a preventable problem, not enough is done to avoid these ongoing errors. Simple steps that could be taken to double check medications and clearly write prescriptions are said to be still not practical by many hospitals and medical providers. As a result of this carelessness and negligence, thousands of Americans suffer serious injuries or die every year.
Patients in nursing homes and long term care facilities are often the most susceptible to these medication errors. A recent study by the Institute of Medicine found that nursing homes and long term facilities often do not disclose these medication mistakes to the patient and family – and often no one ever knows.
Physicians, pharmacists, and other health care providers must abide by a standard of care (they must provide careful, informed, decisive care and must warn patients of known risks). Therefore, when a doctor or medical provider negligently prescribes the wrong medication, fails to warn the patient of known risks, or makes other errors in judgment – the medical professional may be held accountable.
Karp & Hart Are Here For You
We’ve been there before with others, and we know exactly what to do for your case, and for you as our client. Equally as important, we will make the progression of your case easy for you and your family. We are available, accessible, and personally handle all the legal aspects involved. Unlike many other law practices, your case is not handed off to another lawyer. We keep you informed and up to date, and at all times give you the absolute best advice on how to proceed to a successful resolution.