As one of the most common medical malpractice errors in today’s healthcare environment, prescription drug errors are a threat to the safety of patients and their families. The oversight of a physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider when prescribing or administering prescription drugs can have devastating effects on the health and well-being of individuals in both the short- and long-term. While prescription drug errors come in a plethora of forms, the most common errors involving prescribed medications include administration of the wrong medication, administration of the wrong dosage, incorrect labeling of medications, medications that cause harm due to allergies or other interactions, and failure to disclose risks and side effects.
Healthcare providers, including physicians, nurses, and pharmacists may be held liable for giving a patient the wrong medication. Incorrect prescriptions can be due to illegible handwriting by a prescribing doctor or an error in filling the medication by a pharmacist. Receiving the wrong medication can result in detrimental harm to the patient, including unnecessary illness and even death.
In addition to prescribing the wrong medication, healthcare providers often provide the wrong dosage of a medication. In some cases, the dosage is written incorrectly by a prescribing doctor, or is misinterpreted by a pharmacist. In other instances, a provider may accidently give a patient far more or far less medication than what was intended, leading to illness or irreversible side effects.
Mislabeling is also a common prescription error, either due to manufacturer error or oversight by a pharmacist. In either case, incorrect labeling of prescription drugs can lead to the patient receiving the wrong dosage or the wrong medication.
According to the Center for Disease Control, nearly half of the population is taking at least one prescription medication every day. If a serious illness or injury occurs that requires medical attention in a hospital or emergency room, a physician or other provider may be unaware or may overlook a patient’s current prescription medications. Some prescriptions do not mix well with others, and some patients may be allergic to certain medications. Failing to review current prescriptions with patients may lead to harmful side effects and fatal allergic reactions.
Failing to Warn
Doctors, nurses, and pharmacists alike can be held liable for failing to warn a patient of the potential side effects that a prescription drug may have. For some medications, certain foods should be avoided, while others may require an individual to forego moderate to intense physical activity for a period of time. Without knowing what the side effects may be, patients can injure themselves further or become even more ill than they were prior to a prescription being filled.
Medical Malpractice Attorneys in St. Louis, MO | Carey, Danis & Lowe
At Carey, Danis & Lowe, we represent a number of medical malpractice victims, including those affected by prescription drug errors. We know the emotional and physical toll medical malpractice can have on patients and their families, and we work with our clients to ensure they receive the amount of compensation they deserve. If you have fallen victim to a prescription drug error or other medical malpractice, contact Carey, Danis & Lowe today.