What is a Medication Error?
A medication error is any preventable event in which a patient may be harmed as a result of taking medication, and can occur when a healthcare provider prescribes an incorrect dosage of a medicine, fails to take into account existing medical prescriptions that may interfere with the medicine being prescribed, prescribes an improper medication, or prescribes a medication that conflicts with pre-existing and known allergies.
Any of these actions mean that the healthcare provider failed to abide by the accepted standard of care. Since 2000, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports that it has received more than 95,000 complaints of medication errors, though the actual number of errors, the FDA states, is likely higher.
Medical Professionals’ Responsibilities
Professionals in the health care service should be aware of the risks involved with medication errors. They are highly trained and well-skilled to prevent and avoid them. It is a grave matter because it can result in pain, irreversible damage, and even death in some cases. Your healthcare provider is primarily responsible for avoiding medication errors and other tragic mistakes.
Healthcare professionals such as doctors, nurses, lab technicians, and other experts normally follow a “5 Rs” rule. This rule helps them to avert dire consequences due to administering the wrong medication. The “5 Rs are:
• Administering the Right medication
• To the Right patient
• In the Right dosage
• Via the Right administration method
• At the Right time
If a medical professional fails to adhere to any of these guidelines and leads to an injury to a patient, it becomes a form of medical negligence. Consequently, the nurse, doctor, or healthcare provider responsible for the action can be held liable. Our medical malpractice lawyers in Pennsylvania can assist you in doing this by filing a medical malpractice claim for the medication error.
Many patients trust that when their doctors give them a prescription for pharmaceutical drugs, they will be safe to use and treat their ailments. However, these medications sometimes end up harming patients rather than helping them. When patients suffer personal injury due to medication errors, we can initiate medical malpractice lawsuits to seek justice and compensation for the victims of such errors.
Causes of Common Medication Errors
Medication errors can result in an overdose or delayed care. Both scenarios can be potentially serious or fatal injuries. There are several kinds of mistakes made by medical experts that are typically deemed negligence in medication error cases. They include:
• Prescribing the wrong drug
• Prescribing the wrong dosage
• Administering medications to the wrong patient
• Administering the medication via an improper administration method
• Failing to convey proper dosing instructions to the patients. This includes inaccurate labeling or lack of labeling, giving incomplete information to the patient
• Overlooking the patient’s drug allergies and test results
• Failure to check if the patient is using other drugs that could interfere with the new medications
• Failure to check the patient’s medical history of prescription medication use
• Not warning the patients about the severe side effects and risks associated with the prescription medications
• Failure to account for a child’s age, weight, and size when administering or prescribing medication
• Disregarding warnings about the prescribed medication by the doctor prescribing medications
Due to the complexity of the chemical combinations in medications, the risk of making a mistake is always present. These errors, however minor, can have a devastating impact on patients.
What the Law Requires
Most unsatisfactory medical results and complications rarely qualify as medical negligence or malpractice. To have a successful medical error claim, our attorneys at Pennsylvania must prove the following.
There was a Breach of Duty
When health care providers fail to satisfactorily perform to the required standards of health care, resulting in injury or harm to a patient, it might constitute a breach of duty for which they are held liable. For instance, the healthcare professional may fail to give proper dosage instructions to the patient, resulting in an overdose. A breach of duty can also happen if the medical professional fails to check for other prescribed medications the patient is using that may interfere with the new drugs being administered or prescribed.
Prove Duty of Care Existed
Duty of care in medical errors involves breaches like administering incorrect dosages or medications and not providing the patient with informed consent. We must show that the patient and the healthcare provider had entered into a contractual doctor-patient relationship when the injury happened to prove duty of care was effectively breached. Then, we must show the healthcare provider breached the duty of care to their patient.
We must provide proof that the healthcare provider’s negligence was directly responsible for your injury.
We must prove that the injury resulted in financial and emotional damage, pain, and suffering from lasting mental, emotional, or physical injuries.
What are the Potential Damages in Medical Error Cases?
Damages for medical errors that our team of highly qualified attorneys can help recover through medical malpractice claims include:
• Medical Expenses – This includes various costs such as medical facilities costs, rehabilitation therapies, medications, doctor’s visits, surgeries, and other medical bills resulting from the medication error.
• Pain and Suffering – This includes any physical pain, permanent disability, emotional distress, and other losses that are non-economical.
• Lost Wages – patients can recover any wages they cannot earn because of the medical error injury. It includes income from being self-employed, the value of your benefits, wages, and any other compensation.
• Out-of-Pocket Costs – Any costs you incurred as a result of your medical caregiver’s negligence may be compensable.
Contact Our Medication Error Attorneys about Filing Lawsuit
At Frischman & Rizza, P.C., we strongly believe that healthcare providers must be held accountable when their negligent actions result in injury or death. Our attorneys can provide you with sound legal advice and representation if you have suffered from a medication error. An experienced medical malpractice attorney from our Pittsburgh law firm can review your medication error lawsuit free of charge and determine its merit. You can rest assured that we will keep you informed about your claim and advise you of your options to make an educated decision regarding a suitable course of action.
For more on medication error, visit Frischman & Rizza, P.C. at our office in Pittsburgh, PA. You can also call (412) 291-3977 today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced and knowledgeable medication error attorney.