When Medication Errors Lead to Medical Malpractice

Doctor looking at prescription  bottlesMedication errors, also known as adverse drug events (ADEs), account for nearly 700,000 emergency room visits and 100,000 hospitalizations each year, according to a 2015 report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Prescribing medications properly can be a complex process, and many times, preventable mistakes result in injury and death. In this article, we’ll examine what constitutes a medication error, why they happen, and how an attorney can help you if you’ve been hurt.

Medication Errors Defined

A medication error or ADE occurs when a patient experiences harm as a result of exposure to a medication. Because medications are so complex, medical professionals must take great care when prescribing and administering medications to patients. Common errors occur when a clinician:

  • Administers the wrong medication
  • Gives or prescribes the wrong dose
  • Improperly labels the medication
  • Fails to account for patient allergies
  • Fails to consider potential adverse medication interactions
  • Fails to properly inform patient of side effects

Causes Behind Medication Errors

Not all medication errors and their resulting injuries are preventable, but AHRQ estimates that 50% of adverse drug events are. When negligence exists behind the error, it’s important to understand why the error happened so steps can be taken to prevent it in the future. Medical professionals often make mistakes because of:

  • Communication errors between clinicians
  • Communication errors between medical personnel and patient
  • Similarly named medications
  • Medical staff fatigue
  • Understaffing

Why You Need a Lawyer

Experiencing injury at the hands of a medical professional after a medication error can be devastating, and recovering damages is necessary to cover medical bills and lost wages. A successful medical malpractice case hinges on proving negligence—that is, being able to support four important facts in your situation. These are:

  1. The clinician was involved in prescribing, administering, or instructing about the medication
  2. The clinician made a mistake related to the medication
  3. The patient experienced an injury related to the medication
  4. The clinician’s mistake led directly to the patient’s injury and resulted in damages

Legal Services You Can Count On

If you’ve been injured after experiencing a medication error, you need a lawyer. The experienced team at Tavss Fletcher can review your case, gather evidence, and help you build a strong argument against the individual or group who injured you. Call today to learn more: 877-960-3441.