Medication errors have been an increasingly prevalent problem in the healthcare industry, often resulting in a significant negative impact on a patient’s health and well-being. If you suffered harm due to a medication error, you may wonder whether you can pursue legal action against the responsible medical professional.
In many cases, the answer is yes: you can file a medical malpractice lawsuit for a medication error. Generally, the key is that the provider’s actions were not just an error, but a negligent one that diverged from the typical standard of care. In the event you need to file a lawsuit, contact our medical malpractice lawyers in Augusta to learn more about what you can do for your case.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is defined as a form of negligence where a healthcare professional, including doctors, nurses, or pharmacists, deviates from the standard of care, resulting in harm to a patient. The standard of care refers to what a similarly qualified professional would have done under the same or similar circumstances. If the care you’ve received falls below this standard, and you have suffered harm, it may constitute medical malpractice.
When Do Medication Errors Constitute Malpractice?
To file a medical malpractice lawsuit, you must have suffered harm due to the provider’s negligence. For example, say that a doctor prescribes a medication that interacts dangerously with another drug in your system. You could pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit if you suffered organ damage or another injury or illness as a result of the doctor’s negligence.
Many medication errors could lead to a medical malpractice claim:
A pharmacist fills a prescription with the wrong medication due to misreading the doctor’s handwriting, causing the patient to suffer an allergic reaction.
A doctor prescribes an inappropriate medication that is not recommended for patients with a known heart condition, leading to a cardiac event.
A nurse administers a dosage much higher than prescribed, causing the patient to experience severe side effects or an overdose.
A healthcare provider fails to consider the patient’s other medications, resulting in a harmful drug interaction.
An anesthesiologist uses an anesthetic that the patient disclosed he or she is allergic to, resulting in a severe allergic reaction during surgery.
A healthcare professional neglects to provide crucial information about a medication’s side effects, preventing the patient from seeking help when these side effects occur.
When Is a Medication Error Not Considered Malpractice?
Not every mistake in a healthcare setting results in medical malpractice. For instance, let’s say you were prescribed a medication, but experienced a severe adverse reaction that was not a known or common side effect of that drug.
The doctor could not have anticipated such a reaction, especially if the medication was widely used and considered safe. Furthermore, the physician carefully reviewed your medical history, checked for any possible drug interactions with your current medications, and prescribed a dosage within the accepted guidelines.
In this case, even though you suffered harm, the doctor’s actions did not deviate from the standard of care. The adverse reaction was an unfortunate, unforeseen event that could not be attributed to negligence or lack of competence on the doctor’s part.
Seek Legal Representation for Your Medication Error Claim
If you believe that you have been the victim of a medication error that could qualify as medical malpractice, it is vital to seek legal representation. Our personal injury attorneys at Nicholson Revell LLP, can provide guidance, assess the validity of your claim, and represent your interests in court. Contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case and plan your next steps.