Medication Error Attorney in Boston, MA
When a doctor or other medical professional prescribes or administers a medication, we trust that the medication is safe. But what happens when a medical professional prescribes a medication that’s incorrect, prescribes the wrong dosage or commits another medication-related error?
Medication errors can be deadly. It’s estimated that as many as 9,000 people in the United States die as a result of a medication error each year. In other cases, patients can end up sicker than they were when they first sought treatment and suffer permanent injuries from the incorrect medication.
The medication error attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman have more than two decades of experience in handling and winning these types of cases. Regardless of whether a doctor, pharmacist, nurse or other medical professional made a mistake that caused you serious harm, we can help you recover the money that you need to get back on your feet and take back control of your life.
For the best outcome, it’s important that you contact an attorney as soon as possible. Any delays can negatively impact your case.How Do I Prove a Medication Error Case and Obtain Compensation for my Injury?
Medication errors can take different forms.
- The doctor prescribed a medication that was inappropriate for your condition or your medical history.
- The doctor failed to inform you of serious complications or side effects associated with the medication.
- The medication you were provided by a pharmacist was different than what was prescribed by your doctor or was a different dosage than what was prescribed.
- A nurse or other medical professional administered the wrong medication or wrong dosage of medication.
- The medical professional failed to properly monitor you while you were taking the medication.
You must be able to show a link between the medical professional’s negligence and your injury.
An experienced medical malpractice attorney can help you collect evidence of a medication error and build a case against all responsible parties. Depending on the facts of the case, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, clinics, hospitals, nursing homes and even drug manufacturers can be held liable for medication-related injuries.
Prescription slips, pill bottles and drug information sheets can all be used as evidence in these types of cases. Keep this information and show it to your attorney during your consultation.What are Some Common Causes of Medication Errors?
When you consider that nearly 7,000 prescription drugs and thousands of over-the-counter medications are available in the United States, it’s not hard to imagine that a medication error can occur.
Errors can occur at any point in what the U.S. Food and Drug Administration calls “the medication-use system.” For example, an error can take place when a doctor is prescribing a drug or entering information in a computer system or when a pharmacist is preparing or dispensing a drug.
The most common causes of medication errors include:
- Failure to communicate drug orders
- Illegible handwriting
- Incorrect drug selected from a drop-down menu
- Confusion over drugs with similar names
- Confusion over drugs with similar packaging
- Dosing or weight errors
- Not taking into consideration a patient’s allergies
- Not taking into consideration a patient’s other prescription medications or medical conditions (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 82% of adults take at least one prescription medication and 29% take five or more prescription medications.)
Approximately one-third of all medication errors have been attributed to labeling and packing issues.
Doctors, nurses and other medical professionals often work long hours and in stressful situations. Hospitals, nursing homes and other care facilities are often understaffed. These situations can lead to careless and even deadly medication errors.
Children, the elderly and those who have a difficult time understanding English are at increased risk of medication errors.
Medical providers have a legal duty to use reasonable care when prescribing a medication. This includes:
- Weighing the risks and benefits of a medication
- Determining how the medication will interact with other medications that the patient is taking
- Explaining any risks and side effects to the patient so that the patient can make an informed decision about whether to take the medication or not
Serious injury can result when a medical provider fails to properly monitor a patient taking certain medications.
For example, patients taking the blood-thinning drug warfarin, known by the brand names Coumadin and Jantoven, must be carefully monitored. Warfarin is commonly prescribed to nursing home patients.
Patients who take too much warfarin can bleed uncontrollably while patients who take too little of the blood thinner can develop dangerous blood clots that lead to strokes, pulmonary embolisms and other serious injuries.
In addition, more than 100 prescription drugs and various over-the-counter drugs and herbal remedies cause dangerous interactions when taken with warfarin, and warfarin can be affected by changes in a person’s diet.Injuries Caused by Medication Errors Can Be Severe
Medication errors can cause a patient to suffer health consequences ranging from minor to severe. In some cases, a person might feel dizzy, lightheaded and fatigued after taking the wrong medication, while in the most serious cases, a person can die when the wrong medication or wrong dose of a medication has been administered.
Here’s a look at some common injuries caused by medication errors:
- Allergic reactions
- Physical injuries
- Brain injuries
- Neurological injuries
- Psychological problems
- Failure to treat the underlying condition
- Wrongful death
While many aspects of the prescription medication process are out of a patient’s control, there are some steps that patients can take to prevent medication errors.
The Mayo Clinic has the following recommendations:
- Ask your doctor questions whenever you start a new medication. This includes asking about the name and dosage of the drug, side effects and how the drug will interact with other medications that you are taking.
- Share current health and medication information with your doctors.
- Keep an up-to-date list of all medications.
- Store medications in their original containers and organize using a pillbox.
- Save the information sheets that come with prescription medications.
- Use the same pharmacy for all prescription medications whenever possible.
- When picking up a prescription, check to make sure that it’s the one that the doctor prescribed.
You can read more tips from Mayo Clinic here.
To learn more about how our medication error attorneys can help with your claim and schedule a free consultation, contact The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, LLC today at (617) 777-7777 or using our online form.