What Are Some Examples of Wrong Medication Cases?

What Are Some Examples of Wrong Medication Cases?

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What Are Some Examples of Wrong Medication Cases?

When you receive medical care, you expect to leave the clinic, hospital, or doctor’s office in better physical health than when you came in for your scheduled appointment. However, medical errors represent the third-leading cause of death in the United States, after heart disease and cancer. A Johns Hopkins study reported an average of 250,000 Americans die each year because of medical malpractice, with other studies concluding the number of fatalities caused by medical errors as high as 440,000 per year.

Of the different types of medical malpractice cases, wrong medication cases rank in the top six of the most common reasons for medical errors. If your healthcare provider gave you an incorrect prescription or made some other type of serious medical error, you might have a strong enough case to file a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages. Healthcare providers are responsible for the well-being of patients and any violation of the duty of care legal doctrine can lead to a charge of negligence.

A vast majority of patients do not understand the science behind prescription medications. They rely heavily on the education, training, and experience of a healthcare provider to make the right decisions when it comes to prescribing pharmaceutical drugs. From prescribing the wrong drug to recommending too much per dose, wrong medication cases can cause serious, if not life-threatening medical conditions.

Since 1988, the medical malpractice attorneys at Morgan & Morgan have helped clients recover from financial losses, as well as the non-economic losses that are associated with a wrong medication case. Considered a part of personal injury law, medical malpractice cases must include the four elements of proving negligence before a victim can file a civil lawsuit that seeks just compensation. Our more than 35 years of personal injury litigation experience has helped clients win nearly $20 billion in monetary damages.

Learn more about how Morgan & Morgan wins wrong medication cases by scheduling a free case evaluation today.

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  • What Are the Most Common Examples of Wrong Medication Cases?

    At Morgan & Morgan, we have handled a wide variety of wrong medication cases. One of the problems with litigating a case that involves a prescription drug error is some patients do not develop negative reactions to a wrong drug until days or even weeks after ingesting the incorrect drugs. If you start to feel ill after taking a prescribed medication, seek medical attention and immediately contact one of the medical malpractice attorneys at Morgan & Morgan.

    Let’s review the most common types of wrong medication cases.

    Mistaken Drug Names and Symbols

    Even the most experienced physicians make mistakes with drug names and symbols. From referring to outdated terminology to mistakenly deciphering symbols, a doctor can mistakenly identify a medication, which can put a patient in serious trouble. This type of wrong medication case often causes an adverse reaction in patients that cannot tolerate certain ingredients.

    The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) has developed a list of symbols, abbreviations, and dose designations that should help healthcare providers avoid the common type of wrong medication case.

    Administering a Drug the Wrong Way

    Healthcare providers administer prescription medications in several different ways, including orally, as well as via eye/ear drops, injection, or topical application. Prescription drugs require a specific method of administration and if a healthcare provider chooses the wrong drug route, a patient can suffer devastating side effects. Incorrectly reading abbreviations is the primary cause why healthcare providers administer prescription drugs the wrong way.

    Dosage Errors

    Dosage errors not only can cause serious health issues, but giving a patient the incorrect dose of a prescription drug also can be fatal. Although pharmacists make this type of mistake, healthcare providers also prescribe the wrong dose of a prescription drug. Dosage errors can be caused by inattention, reading the wrong patient chart, and writing down the incorrect terms for dosage. For example, a microgram is much different than a milligram. Recommending the wrong size spoon for oral administration is another common cause of drug dosage errors.

    Prescribing the Wrong Prescription Medications

    The names of prescription drugs can confuse the most experienced healthcare providers. Look at the subtle difference in the spelling between clomiphene and clomipramine. Because physicians are frequently rushed when working with patients, it is easy for them to mistake the name of a drug. The result can be a patient suffers a catastrophic injury because of the confusion caused by two drug names.

    According to a research study released by the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, nearly 25 percent of all wrong medication cases involve confusion surrounding the names of prescription medications.

    Patient Information Swap

    When two or more patients share a room, the information for each patient might end up in the wrong hands. When the time comes for a nurse to administer a prescription drug, the nurse might refer to the wrong patient’s chart and administer a drug that can cause serious harm. Doctors can make the same mistake by referring to the wrong patient’s chart when writing out a prescription.

    Unauthorized Drug Prescription

    When the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a medication for use, the federal agency limits the use of the drug for a limited number of medical conditions. Every drug that receives approval for use by the FDA is considered safe and effective for its intended use. Some physicians prescribe off-label drugs, without discussing the possible side effects with patients. Prescribing a medication the FDA has not approved can cause long-term harm.

  • How Does a Medical Malpractice Attorney Prove Negligence?

    The key to winning wrongful medication cases involves proving the existence of the four elements that define negligence. For cases concerning wrong medications, any negligence found typically is unintentional. However, a few cases have arisen over the years that involve intentional negligence, which leads to the filing of a civil lawsuit and criminal charges.

    Duty of Care

    Every healthcare provider is bound by the duty of care doctrine. What your medical malpractice lawyer from Morgan & Morgan has to do is establish a connection between you and the healthcare provider who had the duty of care to protect you from mental, physical, and emotional harm. Duty of care for a physician also means the physician must follow the established medical standards in a manner that a professional colleague would follow as well.

    Breach of Duty

    Although proving a healthcare provider had a duty of care to protect you from harm is easy to do, it is not as easy to demonstrate the healthcare provider breached the duty of care doctrine. Proving a breach of duty requires your medical malpractice attorney to present evidence that clearly shows a breach in the duty of care.

    Breach Caused Injuries

    For wrongful medications cases, litigators must link a breach of duty with a client’s injuries. For example, if a doctor prescribed the wrong dosage of a prescription medication, your medical malpractice attorney must link the breach with your injuries.

    Injuries Produced Damages

    The injuries you sustained because of a breach of duty must generate financial losses and other types of damages such as pain and suffering. Your medical malpractice lawyer’s primary goal is to help you recover the financial losses that were caused by the negligence of a healthcare provider.

  • How Does a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Build a Persuasive Case?

    To prove negligence for wrong medication cases, medical malpractice attorneys complete several steps that create more than enough convincing evidence to take a case to trial. The first step involves accompanying the client to an independent medical examination (IME) to receive an objective evaluation of the injuries sustained by the client. An IME represents a highly effective piece of evidence to introduce during the discovery phase of a civil lawsuit.

    Your medical malpractice attorney gathers, organizes, and reviews your medical records to determine the seriousness of your injuries. The physician who conducted the evaluation should submit a written statement that confirms you suffered harm because of a prescription medication error. Your legal counsel also collects the documents that contain information regarding the drug you took, when you took the drug, and how often the physician recommended you take the drug.

    Interviews with medical experts that testify at medical malpractice trials can provide strong support for the physical evidence your attorney collected. Depositions from medical experts can lead to a settlement of your civil lawsuit. Negotiating a favorable settlement is the preferred legal option rather than going through a costly and time-consuming trial.

  • What Should I Look for in the Best Medical Malpractice Attorney?

    When the time comes to vet potential medical malpractice attorneys, you should pay special attention to four criteria. First, the litigator representing you should possess considerable experience litigating medical malpractice cases. Although medical malpractice is considered a part of personal injury law, you want a litigator who specializes in handling medical malpractice cases, preferably wrong medication cases.

    Second, your legal counsel should have access to the insight provided by medical experts, including medical experts that have considerable experience analyzing wrong medication cases. If your case goes to trial, you need the testimony of highly-reputable medical experts to provide legal support for your case.

    Third, your legal counsel must be a skilled negotiator. The offer proposed by your attorney must be reasonable. Otherwise, the other party might decide to shut down talks and go straight to the trial phase of the litigation process. Negotiations typically involve a series of counteroffers until either you reach an agreement with the other party or both parties decide to move on to the trial phase.

    Finally, your legal counsel should be a responsive communicator. As a victim of medical malpractice, you can expect to go through a roller coaster of emotions. The last thing you need is to hire a lawyer who does not respond promptly to emails, phone calls, and text messages. Your medical malpractice attorney also must be able to explain difficult legal principles in a language that you understand.

  • Work With a Trusted Medical Malpractice Attorney

    Because you have a limited amount of time to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, you should act with a sense of urgency by contacting an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible after sustaining injuries that were caused by a prescription medication mistake. Each state has established a statute of limitations for filing medical malpractice lawsuits.

    Act today by scheduling a free case evaluation with one of the highly-rated medical malpractice attorneys at Morgan & Morgan.

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