Medication Errors: When Is It Considered to Be Medical Malpractice?

Medication Errors: When Is It Considered to Be Medical Malpractice?

Imagine this: You’ve been asked to take multiple medications by your doctor and you’ve been doing just fine balancing them for quite some time. Then, suddenly, somebody makes an error and gives you the wrong amount. In the blink of an eye, serious harm could take place as a result, leaving you with severe injuries or even a sudden and unexpected fatality. The truth is, these accidents might happen more often than you would think and can be considered medical malpractice at times.

In just one year, the Food and Drug Administration estimates that approximately 1.3 million people are injured by medication errors that happen for many reasons. Between 2000 and 2012, it was found that 414 lives were taken in these serious accidents. However, because some of these are never reported as such, the numbers might be even higher. Losing a loved one or being seriously injured in a medication error accident can be a life-changing experience that many people are not prepared for. This is why it is imperative to know that you have many rights when it comes to these cases.

The Various Types of Medication Errors That Occur Annually 

Medication Errors: When Is It Considered to Be Medical Malpractice? There are many ways that a medical professional can act in a negligent way either by taking reckless actions or failing to act when it comes to your medication. In the blink of an eye, you could be seriously harmed as a result. Here are just some of the ways that medication errors cause harm to many parties each year:

Administering Wrong Drug/Dosage: Nurses and doctors administering the wrong prescription or giving you the wrong dosage is one of the most common types of medication errors that occur. In some cases, a simple mistake can lead to serious results when numbers are misjudged and aspects are missed. It is actually easier than expected to administer the wrong amount when numbers could be typed in wrong. At the same time, a doctor could put in or leave out a decimal at the wrong spot, setting your entire medication awry.

On the other hand, you might have a doctor who administers your medication the wrong way. For instance, nurses and doctors are specifically trained to administer medication by a shot in certain ways. If the medical professional put the shot in the wrong place, you might not receive the dosage you were supposed to. There are many ways that these errors can take place and serious harm can result when you miss taking the right amount and are left with too little medication or too much.

Mislabeling: Medications can easily be mislabeled as well. This can happen in many ways, such as before the medication leaves the manufacturer or when the medication hits the pharmacy. In any case, many parties could fall liable in these serious accidents. If the manufacturer was liable due to a mislabeling issue, you will end up with a product liability claim. If the pharmacist has made the error, you would bring a medical malpractice claim for your damages, which is a completely different type of case. 

Allergic Reactions: In other cases, a doctor or pharmacist might prescribe a harmful medication that actually causes allergies in the party who is taking the drug. This type of error is usually the fault of pharmacists in large amounts of cases. It is the pharmacist’s job to ensure that the patient is taking medications that do not coincide with their allergies. It is also important for them to note when there are harmful interactions between a new drug they are taking and the old drug that the person was prescribed.

Failure to Warn of Side Effects: There could be side effects of taking a drug, especially if the patient takes the drug while eating certain foods or takes it at the wrong time of the day. For instance, if you take a medication for high cholesterol, you should usually avoid eating grapefruit, as it could cause your medication to not work properly.

What You Have to Prove to Be Successful in Your Claim 

If you want to be successful in a medical malpractice lawsuit after a medication error has occurred, you must be able to show certain aspects and prove that your claim is actually valid. Here are some of the aspects that every person needs to show in the midst of their medical malpractice claim, including those who have been harmed by medication errors:

Duty of Care: Healthcare providers have an obligation to act in a certain way and abide by the duty of care that all other professionals do. When it comes to all aspects of medical laws, professionals must always remember them and abide by the standard duty of care or else they can be held liable for the harm that results. When it comes to medication errors, a healthcare provider must make a patient aware of side effects as well as ensuring that they are not allergic to the drug they are taking. 

Breach of Duty: If the standard duty of care was not followed and further injury and sickness took place as a result, a healthcare provider can be found liable for breaching the duty of care and could be found liable as a result.

Causation: The negligence caused by the professional must have been directly responsible for causing you harm. Filling the wrong medication might not be malpractice by itself because mistakes happen, but perhaps they have given the wrong dosage and this could constitute malpractice if you were badly harmed.

Damages: The injury must have caused certain types of losses such as medical bills and lost wages from having to miss time at work. You might also qualify for pain and suffering and a wide variety of other damages at this time.

How a Medical Malpractice Attorney in New Jersey Can Help You 

There are many steps that medical professionals can take to ensure that they do not make a medication error that can be injurious or deadly in nature. For instance, procedures should always be checked and checked again to ensure that the right numbers are being listed for a drug dosage, and all procedures should be followed to a T. Still, accidents continue to take place every year, many of which lead to claims.

At Brady, Brady & Reilly, our medical malpractice attorneys understand the many laws that apply to these cases and wish to help you through one of the most difficult times in your life. Our New Jersey personal injury attorneys have handled many types of malpractice cases for clients and helped them receive the reimbursement they deserve for their losses. We are here for you every step of the way. Please reach out to us for the help you deserve at (201) 997-0030.