Medical Malpractice for a Medication Error
When a patient visits his/her medical professional, there is almost always some medical issue prompting the appointment. In cases where surgery is not appropriate, many medical professionals will typically prescribe medication for the patient. It is extremely important that the prescribed medication be the appropriate medication for the complained condition, as an error in the dosage can have far-reaching negative effects on the patient, as would prescribing the wrong medicine or prescribing the correct medicine, but not taking into account interactions with other supplements or prescriptions. If any of these situations occur, the prescribing medical professional can be subject to medical malpractice, and retaining an attorney experienced in medical malpractice law, including one with expertise in medication errors, can be crucial to ensuring that any resulting injury is appropriately compensated. Recently, a surgeon at West Palm Beach’s JFK Medical Center experienced a violent reaction to a narcotic he was prescribed for back pain, leaving him in a vegetative state. A discussion of medical malpractice as applicable to medication errors, as well as typical medication errors, will follow below.
Generally, medical malpractice is a specific form of negligence. Accordingly, to succeed in a medical malpractice lawsuit, the injured patient must prove the following:
- That the medical professional was required to adhere to a standard of care, based on how a reasonable medical professional, trained in the specific area of medicine in which the defendant practices, would act;
- That the medical professional failed to adhere to the standard of care; and
- That, as a direct result of the failure, the patient suffered a discernible injury.
Regarding the issue of medication error, a portion of the standard of care would involve prescribing the proper medication for the medical condition claimed by the patient, the proper dosage of the medication, and an understanding of the medications currently being taken by the patient.
In general, a medication error is a preventable accident that stems from the inappropriate use of medication which leads to patient harm. Medication errors can manifest in any of the following situations:
- The manufacture, marketing, and sale of dangerous medications;
- Prescribing and/or dispensing the wrong medication, or mislabeling the medication;
- Providing medication to the wrong patient;
- Providing an improper dosage to a patient, which fails to treat the patient’s condition and allows it to progress;
- Improper administration of the medication, or providing incorrect or incomplete instructions;
- Failure to identify preexisting conditions;
- Failure to detect allergies and harmful drug interactions
- Inaccurate or poor patient information;
- Poor documentation;
- Failure to monitor and follow-up; and
- Compounding errors
Given that medications are highly-regulated, and requires numerous steps to appropriately prescribe and administer a medication, it is easy to see how an error can occur. Further, the error can occur at numerous points, including the manufacturer, the physician, the nurse, the nursing home aid, the pharmacy, etc. Nevertheless, medication errors should not be accepted as either common or unpreventable, and, if someone is injured as a result of such an error, it is best to speak to a medical malpractice attorney about the patient’s options for recovery.
Seek Legal Advice
If you recently suffered an injury as a result of an error in the medication prescribed to you, contact the attorneys at Pita Weber & Del Prado as soon as possible. We have years of experience in medical malpractice issues, including medication errors. We will develop a strategy for pursuing an action against the responsible party to get you the most money possible to compensate for your injuries. Contact our Miami office today for an initial consultation.