Prescription medications are used to treat a wide range of illnesses and medical conditions, and may be life saving. However, if they are not used correctly, the results can be dangerous – even fatal. If you believe your loved one suffered harm due to their medications, you should get in touch with a lawyer from Davis & Brusca Trial Lawyers.
If you’re wondering what common types of medication errors are considered negligence, keep reading.
Most doctors are competent and careful when prescribing medication to patients. However, mistakes can still happen – particularly in a nursing home situation, where the prescribing doctor may be an outside “consultant” who does not have access to the resident’s chart. The most common types of medication errors include prescribing a medication which is “contraindicated” (conflicts) with other medications being used, prescribing an unsafe dosage given the patient’s medical history, and failing to inform a patient about the risks of using a particular medication.
The most common cause of medication errors is failure to obtain complete history. If a doctor is overworked or has poor communication with his or her patient, or has limited access to medical records (often a better source of information that the patient), mistakes can happen. Another common cause is a doctor who recommends a medication despite having inadequate knowledge of its specific risks or indications. In this setting, the pharmacist can provide a critical “check” on the medication, but ONLY if they take the time to look and review the patients’ record..
Medication errors can cause a wide array of serious health effects, up to and including death. For example, a patient can suffer an allergic reaction from a medication producing everything from mild unpleasant symptoms (such as hives) to breathing problems, arrhythmia, and even death! The best way to protect yourself is to make sure your doctor and your pharmacist have a full and accurate list of other medications you’re currently taking, including OTC vitamins and supplements. Taking this important step can spare you from an adverse drug interaction.
Liability for a medication error may or may not end with the doctor who prescribed the medication. Depending on the particular facts of the case, there may be multiple parties liable for the resulting injuries, including nurses, pharmacists, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies.
As a patient, you can actually take several steps to reduce your risk of medication errors. Start by being completely honest about all the medications and substances you currently take. You should also ask many questions about a drug your doctor wants to prescribe, such as what the side effects are and how often you need to take it. Its also advisable to consult with your pharmacist, particularly with medications which are new to market. Pharmacists may have access to a more complete list of possible drug interactions than the prescribing doctor.
If you or a loved one have been harmed by a medication error, you can take legal action. It’s important to discuss your case with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer, like the team at Davis & Brusca, as soon as possible.
If you’re the victim of a medication error, call to schedule a consultation with the top malpractice lawyers at Davis & Brusca Trial Lawyers today.