Despite the extensive training of pharmacists, doctors and nurses, the medical field is not immune to human error. Occasionally, such errors can be extremely detrimental to the health of patients in Arizona and throughout the United States. Giving a patient the wrong medication is one error that can lead to a medical malpractice suit.
How common is medical malpractice?
“Medical malpractice” is a legal term with a strict definition in the court of law. Not all errors in qualify as “malpractice” in the legal sense, but it depends on the unique circumstances of the case. The following are the types of errors that health care professionals most often make in prescribing medications.
Given the dangers of prescription medication in the wrong hands, experts estimate that 7,000 to 9,000 Americans die each year due to medical malpractice. Many more are sickened.The legal onus is on the medical system to ensure that the patient is receiving the right medication with the right dosage at the right time. Modern pharmacies rely on technology that eliminates many mistakes. Nonetheless, there are still many ways that this process can go wrong.
For example, the pharmacist or doctor may mistakenly dispense the wrong medication that was intended for another patient. The name of the medication could be misread, causing the wrong medication to be dispensed.The dosage may be incorrect, which could potentially lead to overdose if it is too high or failure of the medication to work as intended if the dose is too low. Alternatively, the label on the medication bottle may be inaccurate.
The importance of patient consultation
Much of the legal liability for medical providers can be mitigated by ensuring proper patient consultation with the dispensing of each medication. If a doctor or pharmacist omits explaining important information regarding taking the medication, the intended use, and any potential side effects to a patient, for example, he or she might be vulnerable to a medical malpractice lawsuit as well as potentially losing his or her medical license.
How to pursue justice if you have been victimized by prescription errors
If you or a loved one was injured by a prescription error, then you may be eligible for compensation. Not all damages resulting from prescriptions qualify as medical malpractice, but it may be beneficial to ask a local attorney to investigate your case and explore your legal options with you.