It is no secret that pharmaceutical drugs have become an essential element of modern healthcare. Our society relies on medication to save lives, cure diseases, and help millions make it through their day to day lives. According to a study by Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute (GUHPI), over 131 million Americans report taking at least one prescription drug daily and nearly one-third of adults report taking five medications or more. When administered properly, prescription medications can be an efficient, effective, and affordable method of treating all types of conditions; however, when doctors are careless and medication errors occur as a result, patients are put in serious danger and the consequences can be fatal.
While healthcare professionals are held to high standards by the medical community and by a number of U.S laws, medical mistakes have unfortunately become the third leading cause of death in America. Medication errors are among the most deadly mistakes a clinician can make, and they alone account for over 7,000 fatalities each year.
How And When Do Medication Errors Occur?
Anytime healthcare professionals are careless or negligent in the prescribing, dosing, or delivering of a medication, they risk making a medication error that could seriously harm, or in some cases, even cause the death of a patient. Because pharmaceutical drugs are administered in a variety of clinical settings, medication mistakes can be caused by all types of healthcare professionals including, but not limited to, physicians, nurses, ER doctors, and pharmacists.
While there are numerous ways a clinician’s negligence can cause unintentional medication errors, some of the most common scenarios are:
- Doctors accidentally prescribing the wrong medication or the wrong dose of the right medication
- Pharmacists and/or pharmacy technicians carelessly filling a prescription with the incorrect medication
- Hospital staff administering too much medication, not enough medication, or the wrong medication entirely
- Clinicians failing to warn their patients of a medication’s associated risks
- Miscommunication between healthcare professionals (e.g. pharmacist misunderstanding a doctor’s note) resulting in incorrect medication and/or dosage
Medication Errors In Hospitals
Although mistakes can occur in a variety of clinical settings such as those listed above, due to the fast-paced nature of treatment in hospitals, and especially in emergency rooms, patients of these facilities are at an increased risk of being injured by medical malpractice. In addition to being responsible for treating a large number of patients, staff at hospitals handle the most extreme medical emergencies and oftentimes they are forced to operate with limited information on patients and their medical histories. Accordingly, it is not uncommon for clinicians in hospitals to overlook important information like allergies, addictions, or any other pre-existing conditions that may complicate drug interactions.
Immediate Steps For Individuals Who Have Been Injured By a Medication Error:
- Seek Medical Attention: If you have sustained injuries from a medication error, your first priority is receiving proper medical care from a doctor you trust. To strengthen any potential lawsuit we may file on your behalf, have a doctor evaluate your injuries, and keep a written record of any medical reports, expenses, or other documents relevant to your injuries.
- Contact an Our Medication Errors Lawyers: Consult with an attorney before confronting a negligent healthcare professional or any insurance companies. Be wary that even your own insurance carrier may avoid or delay paying claims. If you contact us, our legal team will make a swift evaluation of your case and compile all the relevant information regarding your injuries and/or any evidence of negligence/wrongdoing. Our medication errors lawyers will be your most zealous advocates, and we will ensure you receive the settlement you deserve.
New York Medication Error Lawsuits
Victims of medication errors may be entitled to compensation, though medical malpractice actions, like nearly all other types of personal injury lawsuits, have several complicating factors that may be difficult to navigate without the help of a lawyer.
In order to receive compensation for negligence on the part of a healthcare professional, a plaintiff must prove:
- Duty of Care: Healthcare providers are obliged to treat each patient in accordance with standards set by the medical community outlining how a qualified doctor would act in similar circumstances. Any type of healthcare professional who is involved with the prescribing, dosing, or administering of medication has a duty of care that must be met.
- Breach of Duty: Breach of duty refers to any situation where a clinician fails to meet the required standard of care when treating a patient (i.e. the medical mistake). Healthcare providers have a duty to care for their patients while minimizing any potential risks, therefore, this duty is breached when human error directly or indirectly results in the further harm of a patient.
- Causation: Causation refers to the connection between the healthcare provider’s mistake and the injuries a plaintiff has suffered as a result. A plaintiff’s injuries must be traced back to the clinician’s mistake, otherwise, it will be difficult to prove their negligence.
- Damages: To receive a settlement in any personal injury lawsuit, there must be damages to justify monetary compensation. While damages can include all sorts of harm (physical, emotional, etc.), some of the most common types of damages which yield compensation are:
- Past and future pain and suffering
- Past and future medical expenses and rehabilitation costs
- Past and future lost income
- Loss of the injured party’s services claimed by their husband or wife
- Loss of parental guidance claimed by the injured party’s children
If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of a medication error, it is crucial you choose experienced medication errors lawyers to represent you. At Halperin & Halperin, P.C., we have over 40 years’ experience helping New Yorkers with their medical malpractice claims and we have successfully litigated some of the most challenging cases. We take pride in treating every prospective client like family, and in the event, we cannot help you directly, we will find someone who can. Call or email us today for a free consultation.