Medication Errors

Prescribing or Administering the Wrong Medication or Wrong Dose

Medication errors are one of the most common forms of medical malpractice in the United States. It is estimated that about 1.5 million people are affected by medication errors each year. While some medication errors may be minor and cause no lasting or severe side effects, in some cases a medication error may cause serious illness, injury or even death.

Administering the incorrect medication, filling a prescription with the wrong medication, administering the incorrect amount of medication and other similar errors are all forms of medical malpractice associated with medication errors. The most common medication error is the incorrect dosage amount. A pharmacist, doctor, nurse or other medical professional may inadvertently or intentionally commit a medication error, which may lead to patient injury and then a medical malpractice claim.

Improper Dose
Medications must be administered in the appropriate doses in order to be effective. Too low of a dose may be ineffective and too high a dose may actually cause more harm than good. If a doctor prescribes or administers the wrong dose of medicine, a patient may not recover or may suffer from serious side effects.

Known Allergy
When a doctor prescribes or administers a medication to which a patient has a known allergy, and this causes injury, this may provide the injured patients with sufficient grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. Medical professionals have an obligation to read a patient's chart and to talk to a patient about any medicines they are allergic to before administering medication.

Pharmacy Errors
Pharmacists and pharmacies have an obligation to properly dispense the medicines prescribed by doctors. They also have an obligation to include the appropriate instructions for the medicine. If a pharmacist accidentally fills a prescription with the wrong medication or puts incorrect dosage instructions on the label of a bottle, this may cause a patient to suffer from serious side effects.

Wrong Medication
The wrong medication may be administered in various scenarios. A doctor may have sloppy handwriting, meaning that the pharmacist who dispenses the drug provides the patient with the wrong medication. A doctor may incorrectly diagnose a medical condition and therefore prescribe the wrong medicine. A nurse may pick up the wrong medicine off the shelf and administer it to a patient, causing a severe and violent adverse reaction. In any of these or similar situations, the negligent medical professional may be held accountable.

Medical Malpractice and Medication Errors

Pharmacists, nurses and doctors are all responsible for taking care when prescribing, administering and dispensing medication to patients. An act of carelessness may have serious consequences for a patient, and it is therefore crucial to take legal action if you or a loved one has suffered from a medication error of any kind.

Find a medical malpractice attorneyto help with your medication error claim.