Written by Attorney Gregory J. Bubalo
Medication errors occur a lot more frequently than people might expect. In fact, the United States Food And Drug Administration (FDA) estimates that 1.3 million people are injured every year due to medication errors.
Medication errors can occur when a patient is administered the wrong drug, is prescribed the incorrect dose of a drug, or suffers injuries because of a bad interaction with other drugs that they are taking. The most common errors occur when a doctor or nurse practitioner administers medication to a patient, although pharmacies can be held accountable for medication errors, as well. Intentional or deliberate use of a medication inconsistent with FDA drug labels (often referred to as “off label” usage) is not usually considered medication error. If you suffer injuries because of a medication error, our legal team can help you hold your negligent medical provider accountable for their actions.
If you or a loved one are harmed as the result of a medication error, you need to get in touch with an experienced medical malpractice attorney in your community. A Louisville medication error lawyer can evaluate your claim and help you get the compensation you deserve. Reach out to a skilled attorney to discuss your rights and legal options for compensation.
A healthcare professional in Kentucky must provide the type of care an ordinary, and prudent health care professional with the same training and experience would provide under similar circumstances in the same community. This means a specialist will have a heightened standard of care in their field of specialty. Any breach of this standard of care can result in a claim being made against the health care professional for falling below the standard of care.
Common medication errors can involve the wrong medication, the wrong dose, or an error relating to a patient’s allergies or an interaction with the patient’s other prescribed medications. Administering the wrong medication, mislabeling, failing to notify about side effects, administering an amount that leads to overdose, and mixing medications can give rise to a medication error claim.
These medication errors can occur in inpatient, outpatient, and pharmacy settings. Failing to take a patient’s history or ask for a list of current medications can increase the risk of medication errors occurring.
One way to differentiate whether a medication error occurred or whether the patient made an error themselves is to look at the prescription and the label on the box or bottle. While the physician has a duty to properly prescribe medication and transmit that prescription accurately to the pharmacist, and the pharmacist has a duty to accurately fill the prescription, that patient also has a duty to read the labeling on the medication.
The prescription and drug label should list the medication type, the dose, and the frequency of doses to be taken. The label should also list an expiration date, prescription date, quantity, whether there are any refills, as well as the pharmacy contact information. The patient should first and foremost check the bottle or box for their name and date of birth. Patient’s should also read any other documentation or information on the medication provided by their physician or pharmacist.
For example, if a patient takes an improper dose after being correctly and thoroughly advised by their physician, their pharmacist, and the label on their prescription, they will not have a viable claim for medication error.
While you do not have to be physically injured to bring a lawsuit for medical malpractice due to medication error, these cases are often complex and expensive, typically requiring physician expert witness testimony. The likelihood of filing a medical malpractice case without physical injury is negligible.
It is important to note there are time limits to your right to file a lawsuit for medication error and medical malpractice in Kentucky. In Louisville, a lawsuit must be filed within one year of the date the patient knew or reasonably should have known the medication error occurred.
Your attorney can investigate your claim and identify all the parties and entities that could be held responsible for your injuries. More often than not, medical providers are involved in complex corporate hierarchies where attempts at cutting off liability are made through organizational structures. However, Kentucky law allows for liability of a hospital or other corporate entity for a physician’s medical errors in some circumstances.
The evidence your attorney will collect includes medical records, medical bills, social media, witness testimony, and any incident reports or internal investigations conducted on either side. Medical research will also need to be conducted, and medical experts will more likely than not need to be consulted and deposed for additional testimony.
Medication errors are a tragic reality occurring more often than people in our community realize. A simple mistake can have catastrophic health effects on a patient. Filing a lawsuit will not only help make you whole, but it can also help prevent future errors from happening.
If you suspect a potential medication error has occurred, you should contact an experienced Louisville medication error attorney. Schedule a consultation today to get started on your case.
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