We as consumers expect that the prescription drugs we take will help us, rather than harm us. But when an improperly prescribed or administered prescription injures us or kills a loved one, the negligent healthcare provider or pharmacy professional must be held accountable and pay for your – or your loved ones’ – injuries and losses.
Medication Errors – When a Doctor or Nurse Makes a Mistake
Healthcare professionals can make mistakes when they prescribe or administer medications and prescription drugs. Hospital healthcare staff may improperly manage a patient’s drug treatment regimen. Hundreds of thousands of injuries occur each year due to medication errors. When that happens, they can result in allergic reactions, conflict with other drugs also being administered, damage organs and sometimes even lead to wrongful death. What makes these tragedies so hard to accept is that virtually all medication errors are avoidable.
A compressive national study by the Institute of Medicine (IoM) revealed that between 44,000 and 98,000 hospitalized Americans are further sickened, injured or killed every year by prescription errors and mistakes — three to four percent of all hospital admissions every year. And an earlier study by the Institute revealed that the additional expense of treating drug-related injuries in hospitals was conservatively estimated at $3.5 billion. The Institute could not estimate the expense of treating other categories – including outpatient events – of prescription error.
Understanding their patients’ symptoms and illnesses to avoid complications or dangerous drug interactions is a primary legal duty of any doctor. This also includes warning patients of a drug’s risks to help them make informed decisions. When a doctor negligently fails in that duty to a patient; he or she is legally liable for the error and has committed malpractice. A doctor is also legally responsible for the following:
- Prescribing the wrong medication or an incorrect dose
- Failing to notice that a patient has an allergy to an ingredient in the medication
- Failing to consider and identify negative drug interactions.
And the nursing care staff has the same duty to administer drugs properly. Anyone who is in the drug treatment chain can be liable for a prescription error that injures or kills a patient.
Pharmacy Errors Can Also Be Grounds for a Dangerous Drugs Lawsuit
Drug stores and pharmacies must also provide the correct medicine and prescribed dosage. If they make a mistake that harms someone, they are liable for
- Mental and physical pain
- Full cost of present and future medical care
- Lost wages and future earning capacity
- Wrongful death compensation to surviving family members
- Punitive damages.
Taking the wrong medicine can be frightening. Unwanted side effects may lead to potentially serious and life-threatening injuries. So it’s vital that pharmacists and their staffs pay close attention to your prescription and provide you with the correct drugs, dosage and information to assure your safety as you take your prescribed drugs.
Proving Liability and Determining Damage Compensation in Dangerous Drugs Cases
Defective drug liability cases require proof of a design defect, a manufacturing error or failure to warn of likely dangers. Who is liable is seldom clear-cut.
- If the manufacturer produced a defective drug, it’s a product liability case.
- When a medical or pharmacy professional makes a mistake, it is medical malpractice.
- When one is harmed because of some form of negligence. It becomes a personal injury issue.
With medication injuries, it’s usually one of the above three. But there are times when it can include two or all three characteristics. An experienced medication malpractice lawyer and their investigators can gather the medical records needed to prove your case, determine the circumstances that led to the error, negotiate with the liable parties’ insurance carriers to reach a fair damage settlement which avoids a costly trial and – if necessary – represent you at trial.
If you have been seriously harmed due to a medication error, or if a family member has been killed, the Johnson Law Firm is experienced at representing those who are injured due to medication malpractice and other harm caused by defective drugs. Our medication injury attorneys, investigators and staff thoroughly investigate and document your claims, manage the case and are your strongest advocate with defendant insurers and lawyers to aggressively seek fair and full compensation. To receive your free case evaluation, contact the Johnson Law Firm online, or call us at 606-433-6802.