What You Should Know About Medication Errors

If you have ever watched television commercials for medications, you have likely heard the narrator describe the potential side effects of these medications. Just as medications can provide you with relief and treatment for serious conditions, they can also cause some negative side effects if they are not taken correctly. They can be even more dangerous when a medical professional makes an error in prescribing them.

What Is a Medication Error?

Several types of medication errors may occur in a medical setting. The most common kind of medication error is prescribing or giving somebody the wrong medication. Not only can the wrong medication fail to treat the medical issue at hand, but it may also lead to an allergic reaction and other unnecessary side effects.

Another common type of medication error is a mistake in dosage. For example, a doctor may prescribe that you need to take three pills each day when one or two pills is the safest dosage. If you are in the hospital when this error occurs, a doctor or nurse may administer a medication twice on accident.

What Causes a Medication Error?

Medication errors may be the result of an accident or a result of negligence. For example, you might have two physicians that do not communicate well with each other, or perhaps your physician failed to communicate properly with you.

Sometimes a physician writes down the wrong instructions or medication. He or she may also write something that becomes misinterpreted, either by another doctor, pharmacist, or somebody else. Perhaps the physician does not remember the name of the correct medication or the proper dosage.

Poor training at the medical facility may also play a role in medication errors. Perhaps an employee has not learned how to provide treatment for patients accurately, or maybe he or she reads the wrong information on a chart.

Sometimes an error occurs because the doctor did not read the patient’s medical chart to determine his or her medical allergies, or maybe he or she does not provide enough information about side effects to inform the patient about the potential risks.

When Is a Physician Liable for a Medication Error?

A medical professional is liable for a medication error if he or she breaches the standard of care owed to a patient. For example, a physician has a responsibility and duty to prescribe the correct medication to a patient. If the patient’s health is undermined by the error in medication, the physician may be held liable.

What Should You Do If You Suffer a Medication Error Injury?

If you suffer an injury as a result of a medication error, you may be entitled to compensation. Compensation is often based on medical expenses, lost wages, long-term disability, and even pain and suffering. Maryland has a cap on non-economic damages, so the compensation you are entitled to is based on a series of factors.

If you do experience a medication injury, generally you must file the lawsuit within three years from the time the medication error was made which caused the injury or within five years from the date on which the error causing the injury was discovered.

The Jaklitsch Law Group handles a variety of personal injury cases. If you have been injured as a result of a medication error, you may be the victim of medical negligence. Call us to discuss the details of your case so we can determine which steps to take next. We are ready to help.


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