Prescription drug errors can cause serious health complications due to the mistake. Medication errors account for over one million injuries and deaths annually in the United States. These errors can occur in various settings, including doctors’ offices, clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, surgical centers, and pharmacies.
If you believe a healthcare professional has made a medication error during your treatment, it’s crucial that you learn more about your legal rights and options. You may have the right to pursue compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit. If you’ve been injured due to a medication error, contact the legal team at Dell & Dean, PLLC to discuss your legal options during a complimentary case evaluation.
Common Causes of Medication Errors
Medication errors are more frequent and widespread than many people realize. There are many opportunities for mistakes, from when a doctor prescribes a medication until the time a patient uses the medication. There is always the potential for confusion when prescribing medication because there are many different formulations for specific medicines.
Sometimes patients receive the correct formulation with incorrect instructions. In other cases, they receive the wrong formulation altogether. Common causes of medication errors that lead to injuries include, but aren’t limited to, the following:
- Errors were made when entering the patient’s information into the computer system
- Illegible or misinterpreted handwriting
- Formulation errors
- Giving the patient a medication to which he or she is allergic
- Failing to warn a patient of the potential side effects of taking the medication
- Selecting the wrong types of medicine from a drop-down list
- Pharmacists ignoring warnings related to high dosages or drug interactions
- Misinterpreted metric measurements
- Abbreviations interpreted wrongly
- Prescriptions prescribed remotely that are matched with the wrong patient
What Is a Prescription Drug Error?
A prescription drug error is “any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the healthcare professional, patient, or consumer,” according to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Medication errors can occur with over-the-counter medications and prescription medications. Errors can involve the following situations:
- Prescribing mediation
- Communicating the prescription
- Labeling, packaging, and naming the medication
- Dispensing the mediation
- Formulating the medication
- Distributing the medication
- Informing patients about the mediation
- Monitoring the dispensing of the medication
- Administering the medication
Who Is Liable for Prescription Drug Errors?
It’s difficult to imagine how a trained healthcare professional could make a medication-related mistake, but it’s a reality many people have to face. If a prescription drug error has injured you, you must prove liability to recover compensation. In other words, you’ll need to prove that the defendant’s negligence or recklessness caused the prescription drug error that resulted in your injuries. Proving liability can be complex, so relying on a skilled personal injury attorney is beneficial.
Doctors Can Cause Prescription Drug Errors
Doctors can be held liable for injuries caused by prescription drug errors if they mistakenly prescribe the wrong medication to a patient. Additionally, if a doctor makes a calculation error and prescribes the wrong dose of medication, the patient can hold the doctor liable for his or her injuries.
Holding Nurses Accountable for Prescription Drug Errors
Although doctors write prescriptions, nurses are generally responsible for administering patients’ medications in a hospital or nursing home setting. If a nurse accidentally administers the wrong medication or the wrong dosage, he or she can be held liable for the injuries. Nurses can also be held liable if they administer the prescription medication incorrectly. For example, some medications should be injected directly into the patient’s muscles. If they are injected into the bloodstream, a medication error could occur.
Pharmacists are responsible for using reasonable care when they fill prescriptions. When pharmacists act negligently when filling prescriptions, victims can suffer devastating consequences. For example, if a pharmacist misreads the doctor’s prescription, they could give the patient the wrong medication, causing him or her serious injuries. Pharmacists can also make errors by filling a prescription with the correct medication in the wrong dosage or accidentally giving one customer another customer’s prescription.
Manufacturing Errors Causing Patients Injuries
When a manufacturer negligently mislabels a prescription medication, they can be held liable for resulting injuries. Additionally, suppose the drug company manufactures a drug that is unreasonably dangerous for patients or fails to warn patients of risks associated with the medication fully. Patients may have a valid product liability claim against the drug company in that case.
What Is the Best Way to Pursue Compensation After a Prescription Drug Error?
The best way to file a lawsuit for a medication error is to discuss your case with an experienced attorney. When you meet with an attorney, your attorney can advise you as to whether your case meets the elements of a medical malpractice case. There are many ways a medical error can happen, so it’s important to bring any documentation of your error when you meet with your attorney.
You should also bring your doctor’s contact information, location, and medical records proving that a medication error caused your injuries. If your attorney decides you have a valid legal claim, he or she will begin pursuing compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit. Medical malpractice lawsuits are time sensitive, so it’s essential that you don’t wait too long to discuss your case with an attorney.
Contact a Prescription Drug Error Attorney for a Complimentary Case Evaluation
At Dell & Dean, PLLC, we offer clients a complimentary case evaluation. We will carefully analyze the facts in your case, answer any questions you have, and help you understand whether you have a valid medical malpractice case. If you wait too long, you risk losing your right to pursue compensation. At Dell & Dean, PLLC, we accept medical malpractice clients on a contingency basis. You will only need to pay us when we secure a monetary verdict or settlement in your favor.
Dell & Dean, PLLC represents misdiagnosis victims throughout Nassau County and Suffolk County on Long Island as well as the boroughs of New York City, and the surrounding areas.