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Bringing a Medical Malpractice Claim for Prescription Medication Errors
Salt Lake City Prescription Malpractice Lawyer
When it comes to prescribing, filling, and administering medication, there are many steps along the way from the doctor to the patient. At each step along the way there are opportunities to check and double check that errors have not been made.
Medication errors are completely avoidable. If each medical professional does his or her duty with ordinary care, no patient should suffer serious injury because of a medication problem. If hospitals implement standard practices of checks and double-checks, no family should be left to grieve the death of a loved one from a medication error.
Sadly, every year people in Utah suffer serious injuries or death because of prescription errors or medication errors in clinical setting.
At Rasmussen & Miner, our injury attorneys have been helping injured people and grieving families find financial recovery for more than 20 years. Contact our Salt Lake City law office to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.
Justice for your family may save lives. Pharmacy malpractice and medical malpractice cases can lead to lasting changes in the way a hospital, nursing home, pharmacy or clinic operates. A successful claim will not only provide you with financial relief after your injuries, but it may save the lives of others in the future.
Where and How Prescription Errors Occur
Prescription medication errors can occur at multiple points between a physician considering the use of a drug and the patient receiving it. The negligent party could be the prescribing doctor, a nurse administering the medication, the pharmacy fulfilling the prescription or anyone else along the supply chain. It isn’t always easy to know where “things went wrong” in the chain of decisions leading to a patient taking a dangerous drug or a dangerous dose of a certain drug. As a result, it’s generally a good idea to allow an experienced attorney to investigate prescription medication errors. Utah attorneys at Rasmussen & Miner can conduct such investigations to help you determine why you have suffered harm and who may be held accountable for that harm.
Utah prescription medication errors are unacceptably common, but that doesn’t mean that victims don’t have the legal right to pursue action when such errors cause them harm. Below are some examples of common reasons that Utah prescription medication errors occur.
Failing To Prevent Dangerous Drug Interactions (physicians): A doctor prescribes the most common drug used to treat whatever diagnosis he or she just gave the patient. But because the doctor didn’t look at the patient’s medical history or list of current prescriptions, he prescribes a drug that can cause dangerous or even fatal medical problems when interacting with another drug the patient is taking.
Prescribing the wrong drug (physicians): Doctors are notorious for bad handwriting, and that can be a problem for doctors who still use prescription pads. But many doctors now write prescriptions using a drop-down list of medications on their computer. A busy doctor may select the wrong drug with a similar name and fail to notice his mistake. The pharmacy fills whatever is on the prescription and the patient takes it.
Dosing errors (physicians or pharmacists): Here’s another example of how computers can make mistakes more likely. Certain medications auto-populate with the most common or default dosage, which the doctor can then change. If he forgets, however, it may be the wrong dosage for the patient. There are often built-in warnings that come up if a dosage is unusually high or another problem is detected, but too many of these pop-up warnings can actually lead doctors to tune them out.
Incorrect patient data (nurses): Patients provide a medical history and list of medications, which nurses then enter into a chart. If certain drugs are missed, they won’t raise alerts for dangerous interactions. If a nurse accidentally enters a patient’s weight in kilograms rather than pounds, the calculated dosage may be dangerously incorrect.
Giving drugs to the wrong patient (nurses, pharmacists): When administering drugs in a hospital setting, a nurse may forget which patient is supposed to receive a dose of medication and give it to the wrong patient. A pharmacist may forget to verify that the Jane Smith picking up her prescription is the correct Jane Smith. There have been numerous cases of serious medication errors caused by pharmacists giving the wrong prescription to a patient with the same name as someone else.
Incorrect drug substitutions (pharmacists): For most patients, a generic version of a name-brand drug is perfectly safe and is preferable because it is cheaper. But pharmacists need to get patient and/or doctor permission first. Two drugs may have the same active ingredient but use different filler ingredients. And certain patients may be allergic to the filler ingredients in a generic drug. A potentially serious reaction can occur, all because a pharmacist assumed that a swap would be fine.
Why You Need an Experienced Legal Advocate
Medication error cases are complex and may require the help of medical experts to prove how the error occurred and defend against the claim that the patients’ reaction to the drug could not be foreseen. You have only a limited amount of time to bring a claim.
Do not delay talking with a lawyer at our office about:
- Prescription drug overdose or wrong dosage;
- Wrong medications prescribed;
- Failure to properly monitor patients responses to medication or anesthesiology;
- Filling an order with a similar, generic drug rather than the prescribed drug or with the wrong generic;
- A drug being administered improperly.
This is not just a court case, this is your life! At Rasmussen & Miner we are dedicated to protecting your rights to financial recovery. Call (801)363-8500 or contact our Salt Lake City law office to schedule a free consultation.