When we are in pain or have a chronic illness, we rely on our doctors and medical professionals to prescribe medication that will alleviate our suffering. Physicians and pharmacists are required to take reasonable precautions to ensure that prescription medication is not only helpful, but also safe. While many safety provisions are in place, mistakes still occur, with doctors prescribing the wrong medication or pharmacists incorrectly filling prescriptions.
If you suffered serious medical consequences because you were prescribed the wrong medication, our experienced Maryland medication error and wrong prescription attorneys can help determine if you were the victim of medical malpractice. Call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291 today to schedule a free consultation.
Injuries Due to Wrong Prescriptions or Medication
We trust our physicians and pharmacists when it comes to the medications prescribed for our benefit. We usually believe that our doctor accurately diagnosed our condition and prescribed the best possible medication to help us. We also put our faith in pharmacists to fill prescriptions correctly and advise us of any potentially dangerous side-effects or drug interactions. We trust that the medication we take will ultimately help us.
Prescribing the wrong medication can result in serious harm or even death. Not only will the wrong medication fail to ease the symptoms, but it may also worsen current conditions. Additionally, the wrong medication can dangerously interact with other medication currently being taken, or the medication can cause a severe allergic reaction. In some circumstances, a doctor or pharmacist could have instructed a patient to take the wrong dose of a medication, leading to an overdose. Taking the wrong medication or accidentally overdosing can result in brain damage, coma, deterioration of internal organs, or even death.
Common Causes of Medication or Prescription Errors in Maryland
Potential errors related to medication mistakes can occur anywhere from the manufacturing of the medication to its ingestion. Human error or negligence could adversely affect the medication anywhere along the chain. For example, dangerously designed medication or improper instructions on how to ingest it could trigger serious medical consequences. Likewise, negligence by a doctor, nurse, or pharmacist can result in catastrophic medication errors. A medical malpractice claim can stem from poor communication, carelessness, ineffective safety procedures, system errors, exhaustion, or understaffing. A Maryland medication error attorney can determine who is liable and help you file a lawsuit in either of these types of situations:
Doctor Negligence in Prescribing the Wrong Medication
A doctor might prescribe the wrong medication for several reasons. Errors do not always lead to serious harm, and a simple mistake might not give rise to a medical malpractice claim. However, if the doctor acted negligently, they could be liable for any adverse medical effects or injuries they caused.
If a doctor fails to properly review a patient’s medical history, they may unknowingly prescribe medication that negatively reacts with medication that the patient is currently taking. Similarly, a doctor may miss an existing condition or allergy that is aggravated by the new medication.
Communication is vital in making a correct diagnosis and providing treatment. A doctor can be negligent simply by poorly communicating with the patient. For instance, failing to give clear instructions can result in a patient taking the incorrect dosage or taking the medication at mistaken intervals. While it is a common joke that doctors have poor handwriting, an illegible prescription can easily result in a pharmacist dispensing the wrong medication and could constitute medical malpractice on the doctor’s part.
Pharmacist Negligence in Filling a Prescription Incorrectly
In Maryland, a pharmacist does not have a duty to warn a patient of potentially dangerous side-effects or to safeguard a patient from taking medications that would adversely affect each other. However, this lack of duty does not always free a pharmacist from liability when incorrectly filling a prescription. A pharmacy must have safety protocols in place to ensure that medication is stored and dispensed properly. Furthermore, a pharmacist must fill prescriptions accurately. If there is a question regarding any prescription, the pharmacist should contact the prescribing physician rather than guess. Negligent conduct by a pharmacist or pharmacy that results in the wrong medication being dispensed can usually give rise to a lawsuit.
Medical Malpractice for Medication Errors and Wrong Prescriptions
If a patient suffers adverse medical effects or serious harm from a medication error or an inaccurately filled prescription, they may have a legitimate medical malpractice claim. However, not every medical mistake rises to the level of medical malpractice. In Maryland, to be successful in a medical malpractice claim, four elements must be proven:
Standard of Care
Medical professionals have a duty to provide the same care to their patients that a similarly qualified, knowledgeable professional would provide under comparable circumstances. This duty exists for all healthcare providers, though the standards change based on their particular profession. Therefore, a doctor has a different standard of care than a pharmacist would.
Breaching the Standard of Care
A simple mistake may not be medical malpractice. However, if medical professionals deviate from the standard of care in prescribing medication, dispensing medication, or giving instructions, they may be liable for any resulting injury or harm. For example, a doctor who fails to ask about a patient’s medical history, other prescription medications they are currently taking, or possible allergies may have negligently deviated from the proper level of care that should have been provided.
The negligent conduct must be the direct cause of the patient’s injury. Mistakenly prescribing the wrong medication or filling a prescription incorrectly is not necessarily malpractice if it did not actually cause any harm. Our Maryland medication error attorney can help determine if a serious medical consequence was directly caused by taking the wrong medication.
The injury must result in actual economic or noneconomic damages. Economic damages include things like additional medical care costs, hospital expenses, lost wages, and funeral expenses, while noneconomic damages include things like long-term physical or emotional distress and pain and suffering.
Call a Maryland Medication Error and Wrong Prescription Lawyer Today for a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one has suffered adverse medical effects or serious medical injuries from taking the wrong medication, call the Maryland wrong prescription and medication error attorneys at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice. Our lawyers have the experience, knowledge, and resources to fight for your rights. Call (410) 694-7291 today to schedule a free consultation.