The Many Faces of Medical Malpractice, Part 3: Medication Errors

Photo of blue pillsMedical malpractice takes many forms. One of these is prescription or medication errors. Doctors and pharmacists have a responsibility to act in a manner that protects the safety of patients. When they do not, injury and even death can result.

There are various ways that prescription drug error can occur. For example:

  • Improper dosage
  • Prescribing the wrong medication
  • Mislabeling medication
  • Failing to test patients for allergies and then prescribing medication the patients are allergic to
  • Prescribing something that interacts negatively with other medications the patient takes
  • Failure to warn of common side effects

Liability in Prescription Errors

When someone is injured due to prescription or medication errors, there can be many different parties responsible. That can include physicians, nurses, hospitals, pharmacies, pharmacists and even the manufacturer of the drugs involved. And it is not uncommon – even something as small as a misplaced decimal point can lead to a fatal prescription error.

In order to prove medical malpractice in prescription errors, the victim needs to prove several elements:

  1. First, that the patient took the medication in strict accordance with the instructions provided by the physician
  2. When a claim is based on failure to warn, it must be shown that the doctor did not take the proper steps to advise the victim of side effects or complications
  3. When a claim is based on a dispensing error, the patient must show that the medication dispensed by the pharmacist is different from what was prescribed
  4. If a claim is based on wrongful administration, it must be shown that a physician was negligent in the injection or administration of a drug
  5. The patient will likely require expert testimony to prove a link between the medication error and the resulting injury
  6. Finally, the patient must show that they have suffered damages compensable under the law

Medical malpractice attorneys help victims of prescription errors by investigating all possible liable parties in order to maximize recovery for victims and their families.

Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”



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