Can You Sue a Doctor or Pharmacy for Prescribing the Wrong Medication?
We’ve all heard the phrase, “the cure is worse than the disease.” The speaker is usually speaking figuratively about the difficult road to recovery after an illness or trauma, but in cases of medication error, this expression could be entirely accurate.
Medication error occurs when a medical professional or pharmacy:
- Administers the wrong medication
- Administers the wrong dosage of medication
- Dispenses the wrong medication and/or dosage
- Prescribes medication to which the patient is allergic
- Prescribes a medication that interacts dangerously with other medications that the patient is taking or that are concurrently being prescribed
- Mislabels the medications
- Fails to warn the patient of side effects
These errors constitute medical negligence, and they are all avoidable when a professional is taking proper, thorough care of a patient.
A physician or pharmacist should be mindful of a patient’s medical history, current drug intake, and allergies. A doctor or pharmacist should also know about medication composition to understand the possibility of adverse medication interactions, side effects and dosage recommendations.
Who is liable for medication mistakes?
Many medical professionals handle your healthcare treatments, and nearly any of them can be held responsible for your medication error: doctors, nurses, hospitals, pharmacists, pharmacies and even the pharmaceutical company. Most often, an error is on the part of the people who have directly interacted with your care, particularly your physician, nurse, or pharmacist.
Patient consequences of medication errors
Patient consequences can range from discomfort, sickness, and mild allergic reaction to serious catastrophic injuries, loss of brain function, paralysis, or death. The more severe circumstances comprise the bulk of medication error negligence cases.
In the tragic event of serious, lasting injury or even death, family members should immediately obtain as much medical documentation as possible. If the patient has passed away, an autopsy should be performed, and toxicology screening will help identify the improperly used medication. This information will secure the most accurate proof of negligence as close as possible to the time of the medication negligence and death.