The Danger of Medication Errors
Every year, there are over 1.3 million people who are negatively impacted by medication errors. These errors may result from systematic failures in a hospital setting, or a doctor’s own negligence in providing a prescription. Sometimes, medicine errors may occur at the pharmacy level when a pharmacist makes a mistake in providing a medication.
When there is a mistake, it is vital that an injured patient steps forward and asserts his or her legal rights. Patients who are victims of this type of medical malpractice may have a legal claim for compensation. Our attorneys can assist you in reviewing the facts of your case to make this determination.
How Medication Errors Impact Patients Every Day
Patients may be impacted by medicine errors when they receive someone else’s prescription. A doctor may make the mistake of providing a patient with a prescription that is intended for someone else. Doctors may make this mistake if they receive incorrect information from a hospital’s electronic record-keeping system. A nurse or physician’s assistant may provide a doctor with the wrong information. If a doctor fails to carefully review this information, he or she may make the mistake of providing the wrong prescription to a patient.
Medication errors can also impact patients when they receive the improper dosage of a drug. A patient may receive a dosage that exceeds the recommended prescription, and this can cause severe complications. Depending on the type of drug, a patient may experience heart racing, depression, suicidal thoughts or even a heart attack due to an excessive prescription.
The Importance of Accuracy in the Medical Profession
In the medical profession, a doctor’s credibility and reputation depends on his or her ability to have a high level of accuracy in treating patients. Just one mistake in providing a wrong prescription or failing to diagnose an illness can be life threatening for a patient. Patients have the expectation that doctors will carefully consider a set of accurate facts in determining the ultimate course of treatment for the patient.
Every medical professional plays a vital role in ensuring that patients receive the proper treatment or medications that they require. From the administrator entering the information into a hospital’s computer system to the doctor who ultimately determines the appropriate script, every individual involved in the patient’s treatment owes a duty of care to the patient.
A Doctor’s Duty of Care to Patients
Doctors owe a heightened duty of care to patients in the medical sphere. As experts in their field, we expect that doctors have received the proper training and education to make the proper determinations for a patient’s care. When a doctor is negligent in considering a patient’s file, he or she is not acting with the requisite duty of care required for that patient’s treatment.
A patient must show that a doctor has not acted within a reasonable level of skill in order to prove negligence. The specifics on how “reasonable” is defined may differ depending on the jurisdiction in which the case takes place. However, the essential guiding principle is that a doctor must act with reasonable competence in treating the patient. If a doctor was reviewing a totally different patient’s file to make a prescription determination for another patient, it is likely that this would not be considered to be acting with “reasonable competence.”
A doctor may also engage in negligence if he or she provides the wrong medication due to a misdiagnosis. Patients can suffer in a tremendous fashion when they receive a medication that is intended for a totally different illness than the one that they have.
Other medical professionals also owe a duty of care to patients. A nurse practitioner owes a duty of care to administer the dosage that is mandated by a doctor’s prescription. A nurse may act with negligence if he or she fails to consider the doctor’s prescription, reads a different prescription or even mis-reads the prescription on file.
Contact Our Attorneys for Assistance
If you have been harmed due to a medicine error, you may have the legal right to claim compensation. It is important that you meet with a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to review the facts of your case. One of our medical malpractice attorneys can meet with you to provide a free initial consultation for your potential claim. Any concerns or questions that you may have about your potential case can be addressed at this initial consultation. There are complex regulations that govern medical malpractice cases, and it is in your best interest to get a head start in having an attorney consider your case.