Medical Professionals Can Be Held Liable For Giving The Wrong Medication Or Dose

A recent study reports that between 7,000 and 9,000 people die each year in the U.S. due to medication errors. These errors affect up to seven million people annually and foster a growing distrust between patients and the health care system. Most medication errors represent systemic problems, including inconsistent care, a lack of insurance coverage, the absence of safety protocols and unwarranted variation in health care delivery.

If you have been harmed by a medication error, you may be entitled to compensation. You can learn more by discussing your case with our lawyers at Kaire & Heffernan, PLLC, during a free initial consultation.

Opportunities For Errors Are Numerous

According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the federal agency responsible for the safety and efficacy of medicines, medication errors are events that can result in harm to a patient or the improper use of a medication, while consumers, health care professionals or patients are in control of the medication. Under the FDA’s definition, medication errors can occur at nearly any step in the process of getting medications from manufacturers to patients. They can occur even when patients self-administer medication if they are acting based on incorrect directions. Some of the most common conditions caused by medication errors include:

  • Sepsis due to unprescribed or underprescribed antibiotics
  • Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, which affects the skin and mucous membranes
  • Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis syndrome, another skin condition that can be life-threatening
  • Trouble with blood clotting or blood clots
  • Dangerously low blood pressure
  • Coma
  • Brain damage
  • Death

Many of the errors that cause these severe reactions occur when health care professionals fail to communicate drug orders or fail to administer the correct dosage. They could also be the result of the illegible handwriting of the prescribing physician, the wrong prescription drugs selected from a drop-down menu, or confusion over similarly named or packaged drugs. These mistakes can result in serious injuries, permanent damage or even death.

Common Types Of Medication Errors

Here are some of the most common medication errors that can lead to serious harm:

  • Prescribing medication with an ingredient the patient is allergic to
  • Failing to notice the potential for a dangerous interaction with a patient’s existing medication
  • Prescribing the wrong medication to a patient
  • Hospital medication mistakes such as dispensing the wrong medication or dosage of a medication to a patient
  • Incorrect medication instructions being given to a patient by a doctor, hospital, nurse or pharmacy
  • Incorrect route of administration of medication, such as giving medication orally instead of injecting it
  • Pharmacy dispensing errors such as giving the medication to the wrong person or misreading the prescription

Numerous parties may be liable for harm caused by medication errors. Depending on the circumstances of the injury, at-fault parties may include doctors, nurses, pharmacists, hospitals/clinics and others.

Why Do Medication Errors Occur?

There are many potential causes of medication errors. The most common include:

  • Poor communication among health care providers
  • Poor communication between health care providers and their patients
  • Medication names and medical abbreviations that sound alike
  • Distraction and inattentiveness
  • Illegible prescriptions
  • Confusing directions about how to use medications

There is no single solution to preventing these problems. Instead, medical professionals must utilize numerous safety protocols and remain vigilant whenever working with medications in any way.

Do You Have A Case? Discuss Your Options With Us For Free.

When a medical professional makes a medication mistake and a patient is injured, the patient may be liable for damages like medical expenses and lost wages. Our team of medical malpractice lawyers at Kaire & Heffernan have extensive experience with these types of claims, and we will aggressively pursue justice for our clients and help them get fair compensation.

If you believe you or your loved one suffered an injury due to a medical professional’s negligence, contact us today by calling 305-376-7860 or filling out an online form to set up a free consultation. Se habla español.