Pharmacies filled more than four-billion prescriptions in 2016 in the United States—about 73.6 million in South Carolina—and that number does not account for medications dispensed directly by doctors or hospital staff. With so many new drugs constantly coming onto the market with no clear knowledge of possible side effects, people regularly, and unsurprisingly, suffer injuries from prescription medications. However, the risk of injury increases substantially when medical professionals make errors regarding medication.
If you believe that your doctor or hospital made a mistake regarding your medication and that the mistake resulted in unnecessary harm, you should discuss your concerns with a highly experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. At the Hughey Law Firm, our lawyers know how to handle complex claims involving medication errors, so please contact us today to learn more about our legal services.
Medical professionals should carefully consider many factors before they write a prescription for medication to a patient. Unfortunately, many doctors do not take the time to cover all of the necessary bases and, therefore, end up prescribing a potentially harmful medicine. In addition, hospital staff can make medication errors that damage the health and safety of patients. The following are only some medication errors that commonly result in injuries:
Not reviewing a patient’s medical history – A medical professional should always carefully and thoroughly review the patient’s medical history before recommending any type of medical treatment. Past or current health conditions may indicate that a certain medication may not work or may harm the patient. Failing to evaluate a patient’s medical history can result in serious harm to the patient if a doctor prescribes the wrong medication.
Not inquiring about possible allergies – In addition to reviewing health conditions, doctors should always ask patients about any known or suspected allergies to certain medications. Drug allergies can cause severe rashes, swelling, breathing problems, or anaphylaxis, which can prove deadly. Many patients who suffer allergic drug reactions require additional (and otherwise unnecessary) medical treatments for the reaction.
Not inquiring about current medications – Medications can often react to one another in adverse ways, so doctors should always carefully consider all current medications that a patient takes. This can include other prescriptions as well as over-the-counter medications or even dietary supplements. A doctor should inform patients about any supplements or medications they should avoid while taking a certain prescription—that may prevent any adverse drug interactions, which can build with time or strike after even a single dose. Serious adverse drug reactions can even threaten patient lives and require additional treatments.
Writing the wrong prescription – Sometimes, a patient will simply receive a prescription with the wrong information and a pharmacy will fill the prescription. This can include writing the wrong prescription for the wrong patient, the wrong dosage, the wrong type of medication altogether, and more. In such cases, a pharmacy may face liability for an error if it filled a prescription that a pharmacist should have identified as incorrect.
Inadequate record-keeping at hospitals – Hospitals make many medication errors. In-patient care involves distributing thousands of pills to different patients every single day. Patients can rotate quickly, so keeping track in some situations can grow difficult. Hospital staff should always carefully and accurately record all medication requirements and distributions on every patient’s chart, and check charts before distributing medication. If staff fail to take such care, patients can miss doses, receive double doses, receive the wrong medications, and more.
The incorrect medication can cause harm in different ways. First, you may react badly to the medication that you received. In addition, if you do not get the prescription you need, your condition will not get the proper regulation or treatment and you can experience complications or worsening symptoms. All of these injuries can require additional costly treatments and result in other losses.
Not every medication error will give you the right to take legal action against a doctor or hospital for malpractice. To qualify as medical malpractice, the error must constitute a breach of the medical professional’s duty of care. This determination requires a complicated medical and legal analysis from an experienced law firm. Often, we will need to discuss what happened with medical experts and other professionals to establish your legal rights with certainty. Hughey Law Firm, however, has the resources to make an accurate determination of your rights and options, so please do not delay in calling today.
If you do have a claim for medical malpractice due to a medication error, you may resolve your case by filing a claim with the doctor or hospital’s insurance company. However, these insurers are ready to fight liability and defend against such claims whenever possible. Our attorneys know how to provide proof of liability so that you can receive the insurance settlement you deserve.
If an insurance company will not make an adequate offer or if your losses prove particularly extensive, our firm will file a medical malpractice lawsuit in South Carolina civil court on your behalf. We are experienced litigators who understand this legal process and can skillfully handle every step of your case. We will negotiate a favorable settlement when possible or will fight for your rights to financial recovery at trial when needed.
At the Hughey Law Firm, we help victims of medication errors and other forms of medical malpractice obtain compensation for their medical bills, lost income, and other losses. We have the skill and experience to handle complex and technical cases involving the medical profession and we are ready to protect your rights. If you suffered an injury due to a medication error, please schedule a free consultation by calling (843) 881-8644 or contact us online today.
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