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Medication errors and pharmaceutical errors are becoming a common occurrence in the United States – and a deadly one at that. From improperly tested and regulated drugs to physicians and medical professionals administering inappropriate or incorrect doses, the problem only seems to be worsening rather than improving.
The Injuries Associated with Medication Errors
Injuries from medication errors can range from minor to severe, but regardless, the patient experiences unnecessary pain and discomfort. Some common injuries can include, but are not limited to:
- Brain damage
- Stomach ulcers
- Allergic reaction
- Respiratory or heart failure
Why Medication Errors are Common
There are more medication errors occurring each day in Florida hospitals and doctors’ offices. According to the American Hospital Association, there are a few common reasons for these errors, which include:
- Incomplete Patient History – When a physician fails to read over a patient’s history or ask about any drug allergies, they could potentially prescribe a fatal dose of a medication.
- Inadequate Drug Information – A doctor should only prescribe a drug if they have accurate information regarding that prescription, as well as side effects and interactions that could happen.
- Illegible Prescriptions – Unfortunately, doctors’ handwriting is as bad as the joke associated with it. But it is no joke when a doctor’s prescription is illegible and the pharmacy fills that prescription with the wrong drug or dosage. All it takes is one misread of a decimal point or mg to create a fatal dose of some medications.
- Lack of Medication Labeling – Warnings and dosage information should always be present on a medication bottle. If it is not properly transferred by the pharmacy, then this could lead to serious complications.
- Distraction – Sometimes doctors are too distracted to listen to their patients or pay attention to what they are writing down. Other times nurses are too distracted to pay attention to proper dosing, and can accidentally give too much or too little of a needed medication.
- Wrong Drug – Sometimes a physician writes a prescription for the completely wrong drug or worse, the pharmacy misreads the prescription and gives the patient the wrong drug. Other times pharmaceutical companies may accidentally incorrectly package their drugs or a pharmacy could have accidentally swapped prescriptions.
Types of Medication Error Cases
Now that you know the cause, you should also know the types of medication error cases that are often heard for medical malpractice lawsuits. This is by no means a complete list – and if you suspect you are the victim of a medication error, you must seek legal counsel before assuming you do or do not have a valid claim.
Some common types of medication error cases include:
- Dangerous Drug Interactions – Certain prescription medications cannot be prescribed with another. Doing so could cause catastrophic organ failure, internal bleeding or even a deadly seizure.
- Allergic Reaction – When a patient is allergic to ingredients in medications, he or she could have severe allergic reactions to particular medications. For example, some patients are allergic to soy and there are medications that contain soy binders. Therefore, if a physician or nurse accidentally gives the patient this medication, they could suffer from a life-threatening allergic reaction.
- Side Effects – Sometimes the right drug is prescribed, but a patient suffers from extreme side effects. This often falls on the manufacturer of the drug for not posting proper side effects or doing adequate enough research to uncover the potentially harmful side effects of their drugs. Sometimes these can also turn into class-action lawsuits.
- Failure to Cross Reference – There are instances where hospitals and clinics will fail to cross-reference all medications a patient is taking before prescribing or administering another medication.
Are You the Victim of a Medication Error?
If you or a loved one was serious injured because of a medication error, contact medical malpractice lawyers at Hardesty, Tyde & Ashton, P. A. today. We can assist you with your medication error or other medical malpractice injury case.
Our Jacksonville medication error attorneys offer free, no-obligation consultations, so get started by calling us today!
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What constitutes a personal injury?
The most common personal injury is an auto accident, but the broad definition encompasses any situation where a person suffers harm due to the negligence of another person or entity. Early identification of a personal injury is important to the legal process. Many serious injuries occur each year involving:
– Auto accidents
– Premises liability accidents such as injuries caused by a slip and fall
– Medical malpractice/nursing home injuries
– Wrongful death
– Work-related accidents
– Animal attacks
– Faulty or malfunctioning products (product liability)