Prescription medication errors can be some of the most dangerous forms of medical malpractice. Taking a medication you received legally from your doctor or pharmacist and taking it as prescribed is the correct way to use prescription medication. If a physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider makes a mistake and you suffer from resulting injury or complications, you can file a lawsuit against the responsible party.
There are several ways a prescription error can occur before it ever reaches your hands:
- The doctor’s mistake. If your doctor writes the wrong prescription dosage or medication information, the error is considered malpractice. Your doctor is also responsible for talking to you about the side effects and accounting for other medications you are taking. Failing to do so when another similarly-skilled physician would have acted otherwise is negligent, and your doctor may be liable for the consequences.
- The pharmacy’s mistake. Pharmacists are responsible for transcribing and filling the prescriptions they receive. If they make a mistake and fill the wrong dosage or medication, or provide you with the wrong instructions, they may be found guilty of malpractice.
- A nurse’s or healthcare facility dispensary’s mistake. At a hospital, nursing home, or other facility, those dispensing medications are responsible for keeping track of medication schedules and dosages. If your nurse or other healthcare attendant fails to provide you with the right medication at the right dosage and time, the facility or individual may be held liable for the mistake.
- A medicine manufacturer’s mistake. In some cases, the medication may be administered appropriately but caused unrealized side effects or harm. A manufacturer is responsible for notifying the public of all possible side effects, as well as warnings and other information. You can file a product liability claim against manufacturers who manufacture defective medications or fail to provide adequate instructions, warnings, and information on side effects.
You cannot sue your healthcare providers or the pharmaceutical company if you were given all of the information necessary to make an informed decision and chose to ignore it. If you file a malpractice suit for a medication error, you may need to demonstrate you took the medication as directed. You also may not be able to sue if the consequence of taking the drug was included in the warning and side effects information.
Discovering who was actually at fault for a medication error may require an extensive investigation. Proving medical malpractice can be difficult since your healthcare providers are the ones who keep your records. In a medical malpractice case, you need to demonstrate that the injury or complication happened because a medication was improperly administered.
Legal Repercussions for Prescription Problems
Consequences for improper medication dispensing may be severe or even deadly, leaving you with life-altering conditions, medical bills, and more. A lawsuit offers a means to obtain compensation and justice against the responsible party. A malpractice lawsuit may help you cover future treatment costs, past medical expenses, and the cost of long-term effects of the medication error. Filing a lawsuit is also an important way to make sure the same mistake does not happen to other patients ever again.
Avoid medication errors by thoroughly researching every prescription you are given. Make sure the pharmacy gives you the medicine your doctor talked to you about; go online to double-check the common dosages and what the medication looks like. Your prescription bottle may even have a description of the medication. Read the fact sheet your pharmacist gives you thoroughly before starting any medication and call your doctor’s office if you are unsure about anything you read.