Medication Errors Malpractice

medication errors malpractice

You trust that the prescription medicine you take will relieve symptoms of an illness or disease and make you better. But prescription drug dangers such as medication errors injure more than 1.5 million people a year in the United States. Medication mistakes may occur at any point in the health care delivery system, from prescribing of a medication, to processing the prescription, to compounding and dispensing the drug, to the patient taking it.

Have you suffered medical complications due to a medication error by your healthcare provider? You may have the right to demand compensation for your injuries and losses. Contact the Law Office of Kelley J. Johnson for a free initial medical malpractice case evaluation. We can explain how our firm can help you seek financial recovery and accountability from the negligent healthcare provider that harmed you.

How an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney Can Help

After experiencing complications from medication errors malpractice, you may face a long road to recovery. An experienced medication error lawyer can help you get your life back on track after a devastating medication error by handling the details of your legal case so you can focus on healing. Let the Law Office of Kelley J. Johnson pursue justice and financial recovery for you by:

  • Investigating your treatment to recover evidence of the medication error, such as your medical records, prescriptions, treatment notes, and progress reports
  • Documenting your injuries and losses to calculate the compensation you deserve
  • Identifying liable parties, including the medical professionals who committed the error and their employers
  • Filing insurance and legal claims on your behalf and handling communications and negotiations with insurance adjusters, corporate representatives, and defense lawyers
  • Aggressively seeking maximum financial recovery for you through a fair settlement or by going to court to demand the best possible results in your case

Our firm has a proven success record, including millions of dollars recovered in settlements and verdicts. Our boutique legal practice focuses exclusively on medical malpractice cases, giving us extensive experience and insight into the law. When you choose us to represent you in your medical malpractice claim, you will work directly with Kelley J. Johnson and her highly qualified legal support team, which includes a full-time registered nurse. Our firm also has years of experience seeking financial compensation for clients through the Indiana Patient’s Compensation Fund. Call us today to take advantage of your free case review.

When a Medication Error Constitutes Medical Malpractice

In Indiana, a patient may have a legal claim against medical professionals for a medication error when that error constitutes medical malpractice. Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider renders treatment that fails to comply with the applicable medical standard of care in the patient’s case. Although the specific details of the standard of care vary from patient to patient, healthcare professionals generally define the standard of care as the treatment decisions and actions that other medical providers of similar training and experience would make under similar circumstances.

Not every adverse patient outcome constitutes medical malpractice. Instead, the adverse outcome must occur due to treatment decisions and actions that other healthcare providers would not have made if they treated the patient.

Various types of negligence or errors by healthcare professionals can lead to prescription errors. Some of the most common examples of medication errors that result from medical malpractice include:

  • Prescribing the Wrong Medication – One of the most common prescription drug errors involves prescribing the wrong drug to a patient. The medication may be inappropriate for the patient’s symptoms or condition, prescribed at the wrong time, or react adversely with other medications the patient takes.
  • Wrong Dose – A wrong dose error may occur when a prescribing healthcare provider miscalculates the appropriate dosage based on the patient’s weight, sex, or other personal factors. Pharmacies may also dispense the wrong dosage of medication. Nurses may administer a patient too much or too little medication.
  • Wrong Patient – Wrong patient errors occur when nurses or other healthcare providers administer the wrong drug to a patient awaiting medication or mix up patient identities and switch around their medications.
  • Wrong Form of Administration – A medication error can also occur when a healthcare provider administers a drug differently than prescribed by the patient’s physician, such as administering oral medication when the physician has prescribed intravenous (IV) administration.
  • Adverse Interaction with Another Drug – Prescribing healthcare providers can jeopardize patient safety when they fail to consult a medication’s drug listing to confirm that the drug will not have any adverse interactions with other medications a patient takes or other health conditions the patient has, such as high blood pressure, anemia, or hemophilia.

Indianapolis Medication Error Attorney

If you suspect that you have been harmed by a medication error, it’s in your best interest to let a skilled drug injury attorney review the facts and explain your legal rights. You may be entitled to medical error compensation for the hospital injury you’ve suffered.

The Indianapolis medical malpractice attorney at the Law Office of Kelley J. Johnson assists patients who have been harmed by medication errors.

Call us today or use our online contact form to have us review your case free of charge.

Causes of Medication Errors

A medication error is any preventable event that leads to harm to a patient, while the medication is in the control of the health care professional. Since 2000, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has received more than 95,000 reports of medication errors. They occur for many reasons.

  • Abbreviations: A major cause of dangerous medication errors is the use of abbreviations, symbols and dose expressions. A doctor’s handwriting may be illegible or confusing, causing miscommunication. There may be confusion about the dosing units.
  • Confusing Drug Names: Some drugs have confusing look-alike or sound-alike names. With tens of thousands of brand name and generic drugs on the market, the risk of a medication error due to confusing drug names is significant. Medication errors involving drugs with similar sounding drug names represent approximately 15 percent of reports to the U.S. Pharmacopeia Medication Errors Reporting Program.
  • High-Alert Medications: A small number of medications have a high risk of causing harm to patients when they are prescribed incorrectly. They are known as high-alert medications because the consequences of a medication error are more serious.
    Specific high-alert medications include epoprostenol (Flolan), magnesium sulfate injection, methotrexate, opium tincture, oxytocin, nitroprusside sodium, potassium chloride, potassium phosphates, promethazine, and vasopressin, according to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices.
    Doctors can help reduce medication errors by having essential patient information at the time they prescribe the medication.

Who Can Be Held Liable for Medication Errors?

Various healthcare professionals may bear responsibility for a medication error. First, the prescribing provider can make a medication error when they miscalculate the appropriate dosage for a patient or prescribe a drug that will have an adverse interaction with other medications the patient takes or the patient’s other health conditions. In Indiana, medical practitioners who can prescribe controlled substances include:

  • Physicians
  • Osteopathic physicians
  • Dentists
  • Podiatrists
  • Advanced practice nurses
  • Physician’s assistants

A pharmacist can also cause a medication error by incorrectly filling prescription medications. Finally, a registered nurse may make a mistake in administering medication. Healthcare facilities, such as hospitals or pharmacies, may also bear employer liability for medication errors committed by their employees.

Medication errors are rarely the result of just one person making an error. Typically, they are a series of failures that allow an error to occur such as a communication breakdown which can lead to pharmacy errors. Preventable medication errors should never occur. When they do, the responsible party or parties should be held accountable before they cause injury to other patients.

Our legal system allows patients harmed by a medication error to seek compensation. That serves to benefit the injured patient and the greater public good as well. Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit focuses attention on a systemic problem and can prevent other patients from being harmed by a medication error.

Damages Caused by Medication Errors

A medication error can cause various kinds of injuries and health problems, such as overdose, cardiovascular failure, brain damage, liver or kidney damage, or untreated disease from insufficient therapeutic dosage. In a medical malpractice lawsuit, you may have the right to recover compensation for injuries or health complications caused by a medication error, including:

  • Costs of additional medical treatment and rehabilitation to recover from injuries or health complications
  • Costs of long-term care, such as home health services or housekeeping assistance if you suffer prolonged or permanent disabilities from a medication error
  • Lost income if you need to take time off work to recover from injuries or complications
  • Loss of future earning capacity if you suffer permanent impairments to your working ability
  • Pain and suffering
  • Reduced quality of life caused by permanent disabilities

Evidence to Prove Medication Error Malpractice

To prove that your injuries or complications occurred due to a medication error, you will need compelling evidence showing that your healthcare provider’s negligence caused the error. Your evidence must explain three main legal elements:

The standard of care in your case
Whether your healthcare provider’s actions and decisions deviated from the standard of care
Whether you suffered injuries or medical harm that your provider can financially compensate you for

Contact Our Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyers Today

The Indianapolis medication error lawyer at the Law Office of Kelley J. Johnson is experienced in investigating how medication errors happen and identifying all the potentially liable parties.

With nearly 20 years of  litigation experience, Kelley J. Johnson has the legal experience and commitment to hold accountable health care providers who injure patients through preventable medication errors.

Call us today or use our online contact form to have us review your case free of charge.