Medication Error Malpractice
Medication errors are a growing problem in the United States. 7,000-9,000 people die every year as the result of medication mistakes. In fact, more people die annually from medication errors than some cancers. Even more frightening is the reality that one in five doses of medication is made in error. Medication touches each and every one of us in one way or another.
You or someone you love is put at risk every day because of the following types of medication errors:
Negative drug interactions
Negative drug interactions occur when two or more drugs interact in a way that alters their intended effects. When a doctor or pharmacist fails to recognize this circumstance, it can lead to potentially harmful outcomes. Here are several examples of side effects that patients may suffer as a result of a negative drug interaction:
Pharmacodynamic interactions: In this type of interaction, one drug affects the sensitivity or responsiveness of tissues to another drug. For example, one drug may enhance or block the action of another drug at the receptor level. This can lead to side effects such as increased sedation, decreased efficacy, or exaggerated therapeutic effects.
Pharmacokinetic interactions: These interactions occur when one drug affects the absorption, distribution, metabolism, or elimination of another drug. This can inhibit or induce specific enzymes responsible for drug metabolism in the liver, altering the concentration of the affected drug in the body. These drug interactions can affect drug absorption, leading to decreased or delayed effects.
Drug-food/beverage interactions: Some drugs can interact with certain foods or beverages, affecting their absorption, metabolism, or overall effectiveness. Drinking alcohol while taking certain medications can intensify sedative effects, impair judgment, or cause adverse reactions. Grapefruit juice is known to inhibit specific enzymes responsible for drug metabolism, potentially leading to higher drug concentrations and increased side effects.
The side effects a patient may suffer from a negative drug interaction depend on the specific drugs involved, their mechanisms of action, and individual patient factors. This is why it is imperative for doctors and pharmacists to be informed of all other medications you are taking.
This form of medical negligence can be very dangerous, possibly life-altering. You need an experienced medical malpractice attorney if you plan to file a lawsuit. I have worked these cases for more than 40 years, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®
Dosage miscalculations are errors in determining or administering the correct dose of medication. Doctors, nurses, or even pharmacists can inaccurately determine the appropriate dosage. Controlling factors include patient weight, age, renal function, or specific medical conditions. In Cleveland, medical malpractice attorneys have seen this occur during prescription, dispensing, or administration of medication. Here are some potential side effects a patient may experience due to dosage miscalculations:
Under-dosing: Administering a dose lower than necessary may result in inadequate therapeutic effects, or the medication being less effective in treatment. This can lead to a medical malpractice cases if incomplete symptom relief or treatment failure occurs.
Overdosing: A dose that is higher than intended can result in medication toxicity or adverse effects. The severity of the side effects will depend on the specific medication involved. This medical error can lead to symptoms such as drowsiness, confusion, dizziness, gastrointestinal disturbances, organ damage, or even life-threatening complications.
Increased risk of medication interactions: Incorrect dosages can affect the concentration of a medication in the body, potentially increasing the risk of harmful drug interactions.
Development of drug resistance: In cases where suboptimal dosages are administered, there is a risk of the targeted pathogen developing resistance to the medication. This can make future treatment less effective and contribute to the spread of resistant strains. I recommend double checking with your doctor to ensure you’re taking the proper dosage of medication.
Delayed or prolonged therapeutic response: Inaccurate dosing may result in delay of the healing process.
It is crucial for healthcare professionals to carefully calculate and prescribe accurate dosages based on individual patient factors. Patients must be actively involved in their own care. If patients are unable, family members must be. Providing accurate information about medical history, current medications, and adhering to prescribed dosages is very important.
In Cleveland, medical malpractice lawyers know that even with all pertinent information, medical professionals still make errors. If you have a medical malpractice case, call me anytime, day or night!
Lack of patient education
A patient may have a lack of education about prescribed medication due to various factors.
Limited health literacy: Health literacy is an individual’s ability to obtain, process, and understand health information and services. We are not all well versed in medical terminology, and doctors need to explain our medicines and how they effect patients.
Limited access to healthcare resources: Not everyone has access to healthcare resources, including educational materials, counseling, or sufficient time with healthcare providers. This can contribute to a lack of education about prescribed medications. In these circumstances, the doctor is your resource. If you doctor fails to adequately educate you on your medicine, and something goes wrong, you need to call me. I’ll discuss your options for medical malpractice lawsuits.
Inadequate communication: Healthcare providers may not effectively communicate medication-related information to patients. This can occur due to time constraints, use of complex medical terminology, or assumptions about patient knowledge. Inadequate communication can lead to a lack of education and misunderstanding about prescribed medications.
Problems that can arise from a patient having a lack of education about their prescribed medication include:
Medication errors: Insufficient knowledge about prescribed medications may increase the risk of medication errors. Taking incorrect dosages, missing doses, or experiencing negative drug interactions, can be devastating to the patient. These errors can lead to ineffective treatment, treatment failure, or adverse effects. Medical malpractice cases can arise because the doctor did not communicate your medication process thoroughly.
Unintended side effects or complications: Without proper education about potential side effects, drug interactions, or necessary precautions, patients may be unaware of warning signs or symptoms related to their medication. This can delay the identification of adverse reactions or complications, leading to avoidable harm or worsening of the underlying condition.
Missed opportunities for self-management: A lack of information about prescribed medications may prevent patients from actively participating in their own healthcare. Understanding the purpose, correct administration, and potential benefits of medications is crucial for patients.
To mitigate these issues, healthcare providers should prioritize clear and accessible communication. It’s necessary to use plain language, to provide written materials, to employ visual aids, and to ensure adequate time for patient education. Using universal health literacy precautions and tailoring educational strategies to individual patient is essential.
If you feel you have medical malpractice claims because your health care providers skimped on explaining everything, call me today. It is unacceptable and dangerous for doctors to be callous about your medical treatment. I’ll Make Them Pay!®
Incorrect medical diagnosis
An incorrect diagnosis can lead to medication errors with prescribed drugs for several reasons.
Inappropriate drug selection: An incorrect diagnosis can lead to the selection of improper medications. If the underlying condition is misidentified or misunderstood, healthcare providers may prescribe medications that are ineffective or unnecessary. This can result in wasted resources, harmful reactions, and will delay proper treatment.
Incorrect dosage or treatment regimen: A misdiagnosis may lead to errors in determining the appropriate dosage or treatment regimen. Different conditions require different medications, dosages, and administration schedules. The harmful effects patients incur from these errors are medical malpractice injuries.
Delayed or ineffective treatment: If the true underlying condition is not correctly identified, patients may receive medications that do not address their specific health needs. This can result in prolonged symptoms, worsening of the condition, or progression of the disease.
Risk of adverse drug reactions: Taking medications without an accurate diagnosis increases the risk of adverse drug reactions. When patients are prescribed drugs for conditions they do not have, they may experience unnecessary side effects or toxicity. The additional health complications or even illness may result in dire circumstances. Call me for a free consultation.
Missed opportunities for appropriate treatment: When a misdiagnosis occurs, patients may miss out on the opportunity to receive the correct treatment for their actual condition. This delay in receiving the necessary interventions and can hinder the recovery process. Time of treatment is often essential to success.
Financial implications: Incorrectly prescribed medications due to an incorrect diagnosis can lead to unnecessary healthcare expenses. Patients may incur costs for medications that are not needed or do not address their condition. This unnecessary cost should not be a burden on your pocket. I will file a medical malpractice lawsuit for you to recoup your money.
It is crucial for healthcare professionals to make accurate diagnoses through proper evaluation and diagnostic tests. This will ensure appropriate treatment and minimize the risk of medication errors. Collaborative decision-making, open communication between patients and healthcare providers, and seeking second opinions minimizes the chance of error, but does not eliminate it.
I’ve seen the consequences of prescription medication errors and you deserve to fight for compensation.
Medications that look similar, known as look-alike medications, can contribute to prescription drug errors.
Confusion during prescribing or dispensing: Look-alike medications have similar physical appearances, such as similar shapes, colors, or packaging. This visual similarity can lead to confusion among healthcare providers or pharmacists during the prescribing or dispensing process. It is possible to mistakenly select or prepare the wrong medication due to the resemblance, leading to medication errors.
Misreading or misinterpretation: When medications have similar names or packaging, healthcare professionals may misread or misinterpret the drug name or label. This can occur during prescription writing, medication order transcription, or medication retrieval from storage. The similarity in appearance can lead to errors in identifying the correct medication, resulting in incorrect administration.
Administration of the wrong medication: Due to the visual resemblance between look-alike medications, healthcare providers or patients may mistakenly administer the incorrect medication. This can happen when medications are not properly labeled or when patients are responsible for self-administration. In such cases, patients may unknowingly take the wrong medication, leading to potential side effects.
Lack of intended therapeutic effect: Taking the incorrect look-alike medication can result in the absence of the intended therapeutic effect. Since the medication being administered is different from the one prescribed, the desired treatment outcome may not be achieved. This can lead to ineffective management of the underlying medical condition.
Occurrence of adverse drug reactions: Look-alike medications may have different active ingredients or drug formulations. When a patient takes an incorrect medication due to its resemblance to the prescribed one, they may experience adverse drug reactions associated with the actual medication. These side effects can vary depending on the specific medication involved but may include allergic reactions, gastrointestinal disturbances, cardiovascular effects, central nervous system effects, or organ toxicity.
Delay in appropriate treatment: If the incorrect medication is taken due to its resemblance to the prescribed one, there may be a delay in receiving the appropriate treatment for the underlying condition. This delay can result in prolonged symptoms, disease progression, or the exacerbation of the patient’s medical condition.
Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
To mitigate the risk of medication errors associated with look-alike medications, healthcare systems and providers can implement strategies such as clear labeling, employing tall man lettering, utilizing electronic prescription systems, and organizing medications to avoid confusion. Vigilance, double-checking, and promoting patient education about medication appearance and name recognition can also contribute to reducing errors related to look-alike medications.
A large majority of medication errors are corrected before any damage is done, but not all patients are so lucky. Mistakes in medication can cause life-time medical problems. Specifically, medication errors in young children and/or the elderly carry the most devastating consequences.
Being a medical malpractice lawyer for more than four decades, I have handled many cases involving medication errors, and I have commonly found that most of these mistakes could have been prevented if the correct procedures were in place.
If you or your loved one was the victim of medication error, you need to call me right away. I will meet you at a time and place that is convenient for you to discuss your case. It is important that you have someone looking out for your rights.
As your Medical Malpractice Lawyer, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®