Medical prescription errors occur in many different forms. Medical professionals are responsible for ensuring that the medication used in a specific clinical setting is right for the patient, correctly dosed, administered at the right times and under the proper circumstances. They also need to take full account of the patient’s other medications, medical conditions, drug allergies and other factors.
In some cases, medical prescription error is obvious. For example, the doctor prescribes 10 milligrams of a particular drug, and the pharmacist supplied 100-milligram capsules. Or, a nurse might have given a hospital patient the drugs intended for another patient with a similar name or in an adjacent bed. Other situations suggest more subtle errors, such as the failure to account for drug interactions, allergies, or such patient characteristics as age, sex, weight or medical history.
Any of several medical professionals can be defendants in a medication error lawsuit, and an experienced medical malpractice lawyer will commence the action against as many defendants as the evidence shows played a role in the patient’s unfavorable outcome.
The defendants can include primary care or emergency physicians, consulting specialists, nurses and the hospitals that employ them, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, pharmacists and pharmacies. Regardless of which professional appears to be most directly responsible for the mistake that injured or killed the patient, the success of the case will depend upon an attorney’s ability to show not only that a particular defendant committed a crucial error, but that the mistake was of a kind that represented a violation of a recognized standard of care within the particular medical field or specialty — thus the importance of expert medical evaluation and support for the plaintiff’s claims.
We represent clients who have sustained injury because of the lack of care in administering medication before, during or after a medical procedure, such as:
- Prescribing or administering the wrong medication
- Prescribing or administering the wrong dosage
- Failing to conduct a complete workup to determine potential allergies or reactions to medication
Investigating Prescription Error
Investigating the prescription error that occurred is an important part of the process when pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit. You have to collect evidence to support your case in order to hold the right people accountable. This requires a thorough investigation. Our team will work with experts to find out who was at fault, taking a look at every step of the delivery of the medication, from the moment it was first prescribed by a doctor until you read the instructions and took it.
There could be a number of errors that occur to cause whatever negative health effects that you suffered. The doctor could have prescribed the medication incorrectly, without taking into consideration factors like a health condition or drug interactions, the manufacturer could have produced a drug incorrectly, or a pharmacist may have mixed your pills improperly.
There are a number of ways in which a pharmacy can be negligent when filling a prescription. One way in which they’re negligent is by supplying the wrong medication. This is obviously a huge problem as it means you’re being subjected to an unknown drug that could interact with existing medications in any number of ways and could have terrible side effects. These kinds of problems occur when the pharmacist, whether due to overwork or lack of attention, fails to ensure that they’re mixing the correct drugs or dosage.
Another way that pharmacists may be negligent is by giving you the correct medicine, but with improper dosages or labels. This can be dangerous because sometimes a pill may look the same as a pill you’ve taken previously, but have more of the active drug within it. When the pharmacist provides you with medications but with the wrong label or with improper instructions, you may take the medication incorrectly, meaning they’ve put you at risk of too much or too little medicine.
Some of these mistakes might seem small, but they can have an enormous impact on your health. If you picked medication at any institution that dispenses medicine, this includes mail delivery services and supermarkets, you should speak to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. It’s also important to keep possession of the medication. You may be asked to return it for a refund or refill, but you should not do so because this medication can be used as evidence and is important to proving your case.
Pharmacists and doctors have a duty of care to their patients. They have to serve the patients entrusted to them to the best of their abilities and must meet reasonable standards of care. When a pharmacist, doctor, nurse, or other medical care provider fails to take the precautions to ensure that you’re getting the medication that you should, they fail their duty of care. When a healthcare provider improperly prescribes medicine, that is medical malpractice and you can pursue compensation for any harm that you suffer as a result.
At McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt, we pursue medical malpractice claims and prescription error cases on behalf of people who have been seriously injured through negligence in prescriptions or use of medications. If you need to understand your legal options if a disability or death in your family may have been caused by a serious mistake on the part of a doctor, nurse, or pharmacy, discuss your situation with an experienced attorney.
With more than 30 years of trial experience in complex negligence litigation, Attorney Jim McEldrew understands what it takes to investigate, develop and prove damage claims for injuries caused by prescription errors. He works with highly qualified medical professionals to identify just what went wrong with the prescription or use of a particular drug. Our medical experts can also present clear explanations of the ways an error on the part of a physician, nurse or pharmacist led to the patient’s injury or death.
Don’t hesitate to contact our team of lawyers at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt today by filling out our form or calling 1-800-590-4116. We are hard-working lawyers for hard-working people.