The right medications have the ability to change lives – especially when they can help individuals with their quality of life. When a healthcare professional fails to properly prescribe, administer, or dispense medication, the patient can suffer severe, adverse health effects. If you’ve been put into a situation like this, our Philadelphia medication error lawyers can help.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 82 percent of United States adults take at least one medication. While many of these medications benefit those that take them, adverse drug events cause approximately 1.3 million emergency room visits every year. 350,000 of those visitors end up hospitalized. While there are a variety of reasons these events happen, one of the most concerning revolves around medical professionals making mistakes.
If you believe your doctor or another healthcare provider caused a medication error that resulted in physical or financial complications, you have the right to pursue a medical malpractice claim. Our attorneys at Shrager & Sachs are prepared to represent you.
Common Prescription Drug Mistakes
Administering Wrong Medications or Dosages
While hospitals are often understaffed and overworked, it never excuses a doctor or nurse from administering the wrong medication or dosage. Whether there’s a communication error or someone makes a mistake, a patient could suffer serious consequences.
Errors like this can also happen if a mistake is made anywhere in the medication chain. Many times, a doctor will prescribe a medication, the nurse will receive the information, and the pharmacist will be given the order. If paperwork is transcribed incorrectly or handwriting is illegible, a patient may be given too much or too little of whatever medication they need.
Mistakes can also be made if the medication is administered incorrectly. Different medications need to be administered in different ways. If a nurse gives a shot to a patient in the wrong part of their body, it may not get to where it needs to be and will be ineffective.
Medications can be mislabeled in the manufacturing process or by the pharmacy. In the event a medication is incorrectly labeled by a manufacturing company, you may have grounds for a product liability case.
If the pharmacy mislabels your medication, you may receive the wrong dose or the wrong medication. Either way, the consequences may worsen your conditions or create a new one. Our attorneys can investigate your claim to determine who’s really at fault and who should be held liable for your injury.
Prescribing Harmful Medications
Generally, it’s the pharmacist’s job to keep track of patients’ allergies, as well as what other medications they are on. If the pharmacist neglects to do this, a patient could suffer from harmful interactions between multiple medications or have an allergic reaction – which, in some instances, can be life-threatening.
Your doctor, however, is not off the hook in the event you are prescribed a harmful medication. If they did not properly evaluate your medical history or medication list, it’s possible they could be held accountable for the reaction you had to whatever was prescribed or administered.
Failing to Warn of Side Effects
Multiple healthcare professionals are responsible for ensuring you understand the possible side effects of any medication you’re supposed to take. Doctors, nurses, and pharmacists should tell patients about the common side effects, as well as what foods or other medications could potentially interact with the new drug.
If your doctor does not outright mention these things, you have the right to ask questions so you fully understand what will and could happen.
Consequences of Medication Errors
The effects of medication errors vary greatly. In some cases, the consequences may be minimal; however, in more severe cases the consequences could be deadly. It all depends on the nature of the error. Prescribing harmful medications that induce allergic relations are often the most dangerous.
Victims of medication errors are most often impacted physically and financially. Some patients may experience a new condition that will need to be treated. Other may experience the worsening of their current symptoms and condition. In most cases, treatment and recovery time is extended, which can mean a delay in going back to work.
Medication Mistakes and Malpractice in Pennsylvania
When a patient suffers an injury resulting from a medication error, they may have the right to file a lawsuit; however, there are certain things an attorney must prove to get their client the compensation they deserve.
- Duty of Care. It has to been shown that there was an established relationship between the patient and healthcare professional, and that the healthcare professional was responsible for the treatment and care of the patient.
- Breach of Duty. When a healthcare provider fails to perform the required level of care, they can be found liable for breaching their duty.
- Causation. The medical professional’s negligence must be directly related to the injury sustained by the patient.
- Damages. A lawyer will have to prove there have been economic or noneconomic damages accrued as a result of the injury.
Contact a Medication Error Attorney in Philadelphia, PA
If you or a family member have been harmed by a prescription drug error, our Philadelphia medication error lawyers can help you hold the responsible parties accountable for their negligent actions. It’s in your best interests to act quickly. Claims like this are often complex and require a dedicated legal team who’s willing to put the time and effort into the investigation process. Find out what we can do for you. Contact our office today.