Medication errors are one type of medical malpractice. Depending on the error, victims may suffer minor to severe health complications as a result of the mistake. In fact, medication errors account for over one million injuries and deaths in the United States every year.
Medication errors can occur in a variety of settings, including hospitals, doctors’ offices, clinics, nursing homes, surgical centers, and pharmacies. If you believe a healthcare professional has made a medication error during the course of your treatment, it’s important to learn your legal rights.
How Do Medication Errors Occur?
Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals may make a number of different medication errors, including:
- Administering or prescribing the patient the wrong medication
- Administering or prescribing the patient too much or too little of the medication
- Administering the medication incorrectly
- Giving the patient a medication that he is allergic to or that interferes with another type of medication he is taking
- Failing to warn the patient of any potential side effects he may suffer after taking the medication
If you have been a victim of any of these medication errors, speak to a personal injury attorney at once to discuss your legal options.
Who Makes Medication Errors?
It’s hard to imagine a trained healthcare professional making a mistake related to medication, but it’s a reality that many people have to face. Some of the parties who make medication errors—and therefore may be held liable if you are injured—include:
Doctors can be held liable if they accidentally prescribe the wrong medication to you. Also, if a doctor makes a calculation error and prescribes you the wrong dose of a medication, he could be held liable if you are injured as a result of taking it.
Even though doctors write the prescriptions, nurses are often the ones who administer medications when a patient is in a hospital or nursing home. If a nurse accidentally administers the wrong medication, or administers the wrong amount of a medication, he can be held liable for your injuries. Nurses can also be held liable if they administer the medication incorrectly. For instance, some medications need to be injected directly into the muscle, so if the nurse injects it into the bloodstream instead, this is another type of medication error.
Pharmacists who fill your prescription may also be held liable for medication errors. For example, a pharmacist may misread what the doctor has prescribed you and give you the wrong medication as a result.
If the manufacturer has accidentally mislabeled a medication, they may be held liable if you are given the wrong medication as a result.
It’s possible for more than one party to be at fault for your injuries. For example, if a doctor who is fully aware of your medical history prescribes you a medication that may interfere with medication you are taking, he may be held liable. A pharmacist who reviews your medical history and does not inform you of the interaction between the two medications may also be held liable in this case. Proving liability can be complex, which is why you should always rely on an experienced personal injury attorney to represent you in medication error cases.
Justice for Victims of Medication Errors
Some victims may not experience any health complications as a result of a medication error, but others are not so fortunate. If you have been injured because of a medication error, contact Carpenter, Zuckerman, and Rowley to discuss your legal options. Our team of experienced attorneys may be able to help you recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.