Medication usually makes lives better. Doctors prescribe medication to help ease the pain of a temporary injury, to treat a chronic illness, or to help regulate vital systems. Unfortunately, doctors can make errors, sometimes prescribing medication that will harm a patient instead of helping them.
An allergic reaction to medication can result in breathing difficulties, organ failure, and even death. If you or a loved one suffered an allergic reaction due to negligently prescribed or administered medication, call an experienced Maryland allergic reaction to medication attorney. Call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free case consultation.
Medication Mistakes and Allergic Reactions
People are allergic to different things, from pets and pollen to penicillin. When treating a patient or prescribing medication, it is vital that a doctor be aware of any allergies a patient may have. Medication meant to alleviate symptoms of an illness can easily lead to serious medical complications if the patient has an allergic reaction to it. The symptoms of an allergic reaction to medication can vary from a rash or skin irritation to a case of anaphylactic shock, potentially placing the life of the patient’s life in jeopardy.
Mistakes can occur when prescribing or administering medication. In some cases, it may be that neither the patient nor the doctor knew about the allergy. In other cases, a patient may have failed to disclose a known allergy. However, the incorrect medication could be prescribed or administered due to negligent conduct on the part of a doctor or another medical professional, which could constitute medical negligence.
Accurate medical records mitigate the risk of prescribing the wrong medication, but a patient’s allergy may go unnoticed if medical records are not current, are not readily available, or are simply not consulted. A doctor may have an obligation to carefully read a patient’s medical file before prescribing any medication. If an oversight occurs and a patient has a serious allergic reaction, a doctor may be liable for any injuries they caused by prescribing the wrong medication.
Nurses, not doctors, generally administer medication to hospital patients. Hospitals should have procedures in place to ensure all patients receive the proper medication, but medical charts can be misplaced, entries could be incorrectly completed, or nurses might rely on their memory instead of referencing the chart, resulting in patients receiving the wrong medication. If an error results in a severe allergic reaction because of a nurse’s errors, the hospital may be liable for any injuries suffered.
In some circumstances, a doctor may consult a patient’s medical file and prescribe the correct medication. But, because of poor handwriting or other mistakes in reading the prescription, a pharmacist may misidentify the medication or dosage, resulting in a patient receiving the wrong medication or instructions. This can lead to a serious allergic reaction.
While not all allergic reactions to medication constitute medical malpractice, you should call a Maryland medication mistake attorney today to discuss the potential of medical malpractice if you or a loved one suffered harm because of a prescription mistake or medication error.
Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction to Medication
It may be difficult to tell if the symptoms you are experiencing are from a medical condition, standard side-effects of a drug, or an allergic reaction to the medication. Some common symptoms of an allergic reaction include the following:
- Hives, swelling, or blistering
- Breathing problems or respiratory failure
- Decreased blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Abdominal pain
If you face any of these symptoms, the issue could be from an allergic reaction. It is important to get a patient the medical care they need to deal with these issues immediately and correct the medication. After that, contact a lawyer to discuss the potential of a lawsuit for these effects.
Filing a Maryland Medical Malpractice Lawsuit for Allergic Reactions to Medication
Merely suffering symptoms of an allergic reaction to medication is not always enough to file a medical malpractice claim. To be successful in a medical malpractice claim in Maryland, you must prove that a medical professional breached a duty of care that directly resulted in an injury or actual harm.
Doctors and medical professionals owe their patients a duty of care. This means that the level of care provided must be consistent with the care a similarly experienced and knowledgeable physician would provide. In other words, when prescribing medication, a doctor should consult a patient’s medical history, assess their individual needs, and be familiar with all the potential side-effects of the medication to ensure the most beneficial treatment. If a doctor deviates from this level of care and mistakenly prescribes the wrong medication, they may be liable for any injuries or harm the patient suffers.
Proving a doctor or medical professional negligently breached the duty of care is only part of a successful medical malpractice claim. You must also prove that the injury and harm suffered was directly caused by the medical professional’s actions or inactions.
Finally, a successful medical malpractice claim requires showing actual harm from the allergic reaction to medication. Some symptoms from an allergic reaction may be vomiting, diarrhea, or a skin rash. While these may be unpleasant, they will usually resolve themselves shortly, leaving no long term or lingering effects. However, some allergic reactions will have more serious medical consequences. For example, a substantial drop in blood pressure, respiratory failure, organ damage, or anaphylaxis could result in additional medical costs, loss of income, or even death. For an allergic reaction to rise to the level of medical malpractice, demonstrable economic or noneconomic harm is required.
Call a Maryland Allergic Reaction to Medication Attorney Today for a Free Consultation
Experiencing an allergic reaction to medication or suffering unpleasant side effects does not necessarily mean your doctor was negligent. To prove medical malpractice, you need to show the allergic reaction was preventable and that your doctor or another medical professional acted negligently. You should discuss the specifics of your case with a Maryland allergic reaction to medication attorney. Call the diligent lawyers at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free case consultation.