Ever wonder just how many written prescriptions for prescription drugs are written each year in the U.S.? This may be hard to believe but in the year 2016 there was more than 4 Billion prescriptions written and filled by citizens of the United States alone. With that may prescriptions being written, it could be said that mistakes happen. Unfortunately, mistakes by patients, nurses, pharmacies and even doctors are all too common. In fact, according to a recent national report prepared by the Institute of Medicine, between 44,000 and 98,000 deaths occur in the United States each year as a result of medical made in hospitals alone. Approximately 7,000 deaths each year are related to medication prescription errors. Sadly, most of these deaths would have been preventable, were it not for the negligence of doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers.
If you have been injured as a result of a medication or prescription drug error made by a hospital or doctor, you may be entitled to monetary compensation under the law. Our professional and experienced prescription drug error attorneys at The Law Offices of Jones Brown can review all of the facts and circumstances of your case in order to obtain the proper monetary compensation that you need and deserve under the Law.
Common Medication Errors Made by Doctors
Medication errors are typically made by doctors, but are not limited to pharmacists and nurse practitioners. In any fast-paced emergency room in America, doctors are multitasking, moving quickly from patient to patient, unfortunately, in this fast paced, seemingly chaotic atmosphere, medication and diagnosis errors will occur. Here is a list of the most common medication errors and prescription errors made:
- Dispensing incorrect medications
- Dispensing the incorrect medication dosage
- Prescribing the incorrect medication
- Miscommunication between the doctor/nurse and pharmacist
- Illegible handwriting by a pharmacist or doctor, including misplaced decimal points
- Failing to recognize or appreciate a patient’s drug allergy
- Failing to recognize or appreciate drug interactions in patients
- Failing to appreciate a patient’s current medical condition and the effect that a particular drug prescription or medication may have on that medical condition
- Confusing drug packaging
Burden of Proof
When it comes to prescription drug error cases, as with all medical malpractice cases, the injured patient has the burden of proving negligence on the part of the health care provider. Overworked doctors, nurses, and pharmacists, and other healthcare providers that work in a a busy, fast paced environment seem to make up the majority of these cases. In medical malpractice cases, including medication error cases, health care providers are held to the standard of care of a reasonable health care provider (doctor, nurse, or pharmacist) acting under the same or similar circumstances. When these health care providers stray from the standard of care, an injured patient may be able to prove medical negligence or even medical malpractice on the part of that health care provider. An injured patient must also prove that the healthcare provider’s negligence directly resulted in their injuries and damages.
Common Injuries that Occur as a Result of Prescription Drug Errors
When a hospital or healthcare provider makes an error prescribing a medication, extremely serious injuries and damages can result. Some of the most common injuries and damages that can result from prescription drug errors include:
- Disfiguring skin conditions
- Respiratory problems
- Organ failure
- Organ damage
- Cardiac arrest
- Brain injury (including traumatic brain injuries)
- Drug overdose
- Psychological consequences (including depression)
- Neurological damage
- Wrongful death
Damages Resulting from Prescription Drug Errors
When it comes to proving negligence on the part of the health care provider who negligently prescribed the medication, the injured plaintiff must also prove that this negligence resulted in certain injuries or damages. An injured plaintiff may be able to recover damages for past and future medical and hospital bills, lost wages for time missed from work, pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, and in the worst cases, wrongful death. To successfully prove negligence on the part of a health care provider in a prescription drug error case, expert medical testimony is necessary at trial. In other words, an expert care provider would need to testify that the physician who prescribed the drug(s) did something wrong, or acted in a careless, or negligent manner. Only by showing and proving this negligence by the prescribing healthcare provider can the injured plaintiff receive monetary compensation for the injuries and damages he or she sustained.
Jones Brown Law & Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
The Law offices of Jones Brown PLLC. is proud to represent patients and their families when they’ve suffered serious injuries or death as a result of the actions of medical staff. Such actions are known legally as medical malpractice, or MedMal. MedMal occurs when a member of the medical staff fails to provide adequate and acceptable standards of care, or when they make a preventable medical error. The medical staff that can be held liable does not end with the physicians; it also includes the nurses and technicians.