There's a famous saying that goes something like, "What do you call the person who graduated last of their class in medical school? Doctor."
It's made in good humor, but it's accurate.
We have to remember doctors are just like us; they're only human.
They went to school just like us. Some of them excelled, some of them struggled.
However, if they graduate, they all become doctors.
Your doctor might have been the bookworm who pounded the books all day and night, or he could have been the guy that partied all night before exams.
Either way, your health, and sometimes even your life, is in their hands.
Mistakes can be made. Accidents are bound to happen.
Even the doctors who made straight A's in school are bound to slip up here and there.
That's why we have medical malpractice lawyers.
Medical malpractice can come in several forms, but it typically boils down to negligence.
Negligence is a health care provider’s failure to exercise the degree of care and skill of a competent health care provider who practices the provider’s specialty.
This is taking into account the advances in the profession and resources available to the provider.
Prescription drug errors are also a common form of medical malpractice.
In this article, we'll go into detail about what a prescription drug error is, and what can be done about it.
Table Of Contents
- What Is A Prescription Drug Error?
- Who's Liable?
- Consequences And Damages
What Is A Prescription Drug Error?
Just like negligence, prescription drug errors come in many shapes and sizes.
The most common types are:
- Giving you the wrong medication
- Giving you an incorrect dose
- Putting the wrong label on your medication
- Prescribing a medication that you're allergic to
- Prescribing a medication that interacts negatively with your other medications
- Failing to warn you of the common side effects.
In the unfortunate event that one of the situations listed above has happened to you, who can you blame?
The short answer is just about anyone who was involved.
We'll break down a few of the situations below to give you a better understanding.
Getting The Wrong Medication Or The Wrong Dosage
This can happen much easier than you may think.
If somewhere along the line a decimal point gets misplaced due to sloppy handwriting, or someone misreading the number, your dosage could be multiplied 10 or even 100 times.
Your doctors and nurses can be liable for prescribing or administering the wrong medication.
Different medications will also have to be administered in different ways.
If you have to get your medication via a shot, your nurse could give you the shot in the wrong place.
Depending on the drug, it will have to be given in different parts of the body.
Some drugs need to be administered in the muscles, while others need to go directly into the bloodstream.
If the nurse gives you the medication in the wrong spot, you could have a lawsuit on your hands.
Believe it or not, even though doctors have infamously bad handwriting, your doctor and nurse can be held liable for their bad handwriting.
Even though it has become a joke, lousy handwriting on prescriptions can be a very serious matter.
If the pharmacist struggles to read the prescription and gives the wrong medication because of that, whoever wrote the prescription can be held liable.
However, these mistakes are becoming a thing of the past as more doctors switch to electronic prescriptions, in which the prescription is sent electronically directly to the pharmacy.
Mislabeling The Medication
In the rush of things, the wrong label or an incorrect label can be put on your prescription bottle.
This can happen either where the medication was manufactured, or while it's at the pharmacy.
No matter how it happens, if your bottle is mislabeled, you'll either receive the wrong medication or the wrong dose.
If it's done by your pharmacist, it's a medical malpractice case.
Your attorney will be able to identify and explain the difference between these types of situations.
This is when you're given a medication you're allergic to or one that interacts negatively with other medications you're already taking.
This usually falls on the pharmacist.
Your doctor will usually have this information, but it's typically the pharmacist’s job to keep track of what a patient’s allergies are and what other medications the patient is taking.
When you use the same pharmacy for everything, your pharmacist will have all of your prescriptions records handy.
They will be able to advise you and your doctors if one of your medications conflict with any others.
Failure To Warn Of Side Effects
This is usually done by the doctor or nurse who prescribes you the medication.
The pharmacists will usually warn you of any side effects right before they give it to you.
You should be informed of any common side effects the medication has, as well as any foods or drinks that should be avoided while taking the medication.
For example, some medications, like those for high blood pressure, won't work correctly if you eat grapefruit while taking them.
That's just one random example out of many, many others.
Always, always ask your doctor or pharmacist about your medications side effects if they don't offer up the information.
Consequences And Damages
If you're giving the wrong medication, it could result in anything from a slight annoyance, to your death.
If you feel like you or someone in your family was given the wrong medication, contact your pharmacy and your doctor immediately.
Follow the instructions they give you carefully.
If you feel like you've been harmed as a result of a prescription error, contact your doctor and your pharmacy, and then reach out to a lawyer.
A good lawyer will hold your hand to guide you through the legal process to be sure you get what you deserve.
The lawyers at The Roth Firm have decades of experience, and they're prepared t0 help you with your case.
If you're ready to speak to them, click the button below to get started for free.