Medical professionals have many tools at their disposal, but one of their most important tools is medication. Medications are used during surgical procedures, such as anesthesia used to numb the area doctors are operating on. Primary care physicians and specialists often prescribe medication for management of chronic medical conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes.
Considering the frequency of use of medications there is a high risk for errors that could cause injuries to patients. For example, errors with anesthesia could put patients’ lives at risk. Prescribing the wrong medication or the wrong dosage of a medication could also have catastrophic consequences.
When medication errors occur, victims may be able to seek compensation for damages caused by these errors. Doctors are legally required to exercise appropriate care in the prescribing and administering of medication. When they do not and damages occur, these medical professionals may bear liability for damages.
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One of the most dangerous medication errors is prescribing a drug that has a harmful interaction with another drug. This type of error could be fatal, or it could result in severe side effects. Doctors need to review the patient’s current list of medications to be sure there are no harmful interactions. For example, combining a blood thinning medication with one that increases the risk of excessive bleeding could be extremely dangerous.
Another medication error is prescribing the patient a medication he or she is allergic to. If the patient informed the doctor about the allergy but the doctor prescribed the medication anyway, there may be grounds for a medical malpractice claim. Unfortunately, there are times when patients experience an allergic reaction to anesthesia, which could cause them to go into cardiac arrest. They might not wake up from anesthesia quickly enough, which can be life-threatening.
Sometimes patients are given the wrong medication. For example, doctors could give medication to the wrong patient. Sometimes doctors are treating the correct patient with the wrong medication. There could be confusion or communication errors that cause this to happen. Doctors might prescribe the wrong drug for a patient’s condition. The doctor might be confused or may get the name wrong.
Another medication error is prescribing the wrong dosage. The medication may be appropriate for the victim’s condition. However, too much of the medication could be deadly or cause severe side effects.
These and other medication errors can result in serious injury or even death. For example, patients could go into cardiac arrest from a spike in their blood pressure. Victims could have a severe bleeding event. Internal organs could be damaged, or victims could suffer a stroke. An overdose or use of the wrong medication to treat a mental health issue could result in a suicide attempt.
This is a complex question that requires a detailed analysis. If there was a medication error and the patient suffered an injury, there may be grounds for a case. However, you still need to gather evidence that medical malpractice occurred.
For example, if the doctor knew or should have known a patient was allergic to a medication but he or she prescribed it anyway, there may be a case. If you did not inform the doctor of an allergy, there is probably no case. That said, you might not have known about the allergy. Doctors still have an obligation to monitor you appropriately and provide treatment if you experience an allergic reaction.
If a doctor failed to research potentially dangerous drug interactions and the patient experienced medical problems from a drug interaction, there may be a valid case.
If a medication error resulted from miscommunication, you would need to prove this. For example, if the wrong patient received a medication, you would need medical records to prove this. If the medication error occurred during surgery, you would need the doctor’s notes about what happened during surgery. You would need to show doctors failed to act reasonably as other doctors in similar situations would have.
Determining if you can file a medical malpractice claim on your own is a bad idea. There are too many factors to consider. You should strongly consider seeking help from an experienced Maryland medical malpractice attorney.
Doctors are often the ones liable for medication errors. For example, the surgeon who operated on you, your primary care physician or a medical specialist could all be held liable for medication errors.
The pharmacy that filled your prescription may also be liable. They may have given you the wrong prescription or the wrong dose.
There are times when hospitals, outpatient facilities and other medical facilities may bear liability, such as if their employees committed a medication error.
Nurses are often the ones administering medications. If they make a mistake and injuries occur, you may be liable for damages.
If you have questions about legal options following an incident of medical malpractice, you need to talk to a licensed attorney with a proven track record in these cases.
The lawyers at The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl have been representing medical malpractice victims for many years. We have obtained millions on their behalf.
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