What to Know About Prescription Drug Errors and Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice incorporates a plethora of possible mistakes, errors, and omissions that anyone in the medical field can make. While medical malpractice can be on purpose, most happens by mistake, and one possible mistake is incorrectly prescribed medications. If you believe you have been the victim of a drug error, check out these commonly asked questions so you can determine what to do next.
What Is a Prescription Drug Error?
A prescription drug error is any error related to medications prescribed (or not prescribed) to you. One example of a drug error is prescribing the wrong dose, which is often caused because the doctor wrote down the wrong dose, or the pharmacy read the dose wrong. Similarly, if the doctor fails to learn what other medications you are taking, there may be unforeseen drug interactions.
You may also have a drug error case if the doctor prescribed you the wrong medication. Again, this can be due to simple writing and reading mistakes, but in other cases, the doctor may simply be wrong about your diagnosis.
The doctor also needs to warn you about any potentials side effects of the medication. For example, the doctor may forget to tell you about possible allergic reactions to the medication. This also relates to other medications you are taking and other conditions you may have. While a certain medication may be fine for one person, it may negatively impact another because of an underlying illness or other medication.
Who Is Liable for Drug Errors?
When it comes to drug medical malpractice, you can usually sue anyone involved in the manufacture and distribution of the drug. This starts with the drug manufacturer, who may have created or marketed the product incorrectly, which includes forgetting to list certain side effects and potential drug interactions.
Next, whoever prescribed or administered the medication (the doctors and nurses) can also be held responsible. Even if the mistake originated during the manufacturing process, doctors and nurses may be responsible, especially if their training and education should have helped them catch the mistake made by the drug manufacturer.
For example, the doctor may know that a name brand drug has certain side effects, but see that the generic version of the same substance doesn’t list them. This could be a red flag since the generic and name-brand drugs should be virtually the same.
Finally, the institution in which the drug error occurred may be held liable. This includes hospitals, doctor’s offices, nursing homes, pharmacies, and other institutions. Because the institution hires the doctors and nurses who prescribe and administer medication, they have some responsibility in any medical errors.
What Damages May You Win?
The value of drug error damages depends on the severity of the consequences, which could range from minor, short-term complications to long-term issues. In some cases, drug errors can lead to the worsening of a condition or even death. Regardless of the severity of your case, however, you should be awarded damages for any and all medical expenses related to the drug error, such as ER visits and emergency surgeries.
Typically, lost income and out-of-pocket expenses are also automatically included in your drug error medical malpractice case. Lost income is self-explanatory, but out-of-pocket expenses can include prescriptions, medical aids, gasoline used during trips to the hospital, and other associated expenses.
If the drug error was severe, it can affect you in other ways. Pain and suffering are a type of damage that is awarded if your life has drastically been affected by the error. Some people with pain and suffering deal with long-term chronic physical or emotional pain. If your attorney can prove pain and suffering, you may get a bigger settlement to help make you whole again.
Medical malpractice is common, and drug errors are only one example. If you have been injured because of prescription medication, you have the right to a fair settlement to pay for all your damages. If you would like more information about medical malpractice and how we can help, contact us at Frenkel & Frenkel Attorneys and Counselors today.