Prescription and over-the-counter medications help you manage symptoms or recover from illnesses so you can ultimately get back to healthily enjoying your life. However, the same drugs you regard as your lifeline through your difficult times can also cause serious complications and even death when medication errors occur.
If you or a loved one has been harmed by a medication error due to pharmaceutical negligence, knowing your rights and understanding the next steps in reporting medication errors can help you seek the compensation you deserve.
Understanding Medication Errors — How Do They Happen?
Doctors assess their patients’ condition before prescribing medication. Some factors they consider include the patient’s health history, diagnosed condition, body mass index, and any drug allergies.
As such, a medication error or pharmaceutical mistake can happen as a result of the following:
- Diagnosing the patient’s condition incorrectly
- Reading the patient’s test results incorrectly
- Writing the prescribed drugs in illegible handwriting
- Issuing conflicting prescriptions, or those that cause adverse reactions
- Mixing up medical charts
- Failure to advise patients on correct drug use
- Using incorrect labels on medication bottles
- Giving a patient the wrong dose or wrong type of medicine
Why Health Professionals Commit Pharmaceutical Mistakes
Aside from human error, there are some other factors that can contribute to medication errors:
- Busy, understaffed hospitals creating high-stress environments
- Insufficient or improper medical staff training
- Faulty or outdated computer systems
- Inaccurate drug inventory systems
While these are understandably out of a drug manufacturer, prescribing doctor, pharmacy, or hospital staff’s control, these do not excuse them from their fault. This means they may still be partially liable for the health complications you’ve suffered due to the medication error.
What to Do After a Medication Error
While every case is unique and the specifics of your situation will ultimately dictate your next steps, here are some of the first things you should do after discovering a medication error:
Contact a Medication Error Lawyer
Whether you have sustained a minor injury or a significant health complication, it’s always a good idea to seek professional help from a medication error or medical malpractice lawyer. A legal practitioner can help you understand your situation, give appropriate legal advice for your circumstances, and guide you through the next steps in reporting medication errors.
Seek Medical Attention
Besides seeking legal help, you must also get the medical attention you need for your new or worsening health condition. Drugs can be life-threatening when misused, so it’s crucial that you work with a physician that can correct the issue.
Gather All Relevant Documents
As you move forward with your medication error case with your attorney, you will need to keep all medication bottles given to you and compile copies of your prescriptions and medical records. If you’ve had to miss work due to your injury or sudden disability, a letter from your employer could also help build your case.
Filing Medication Error or Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Chicago
Medication errors committed by a drug manufacturer, doctor, pharmacist, nurse, or any hospital staff can lead to health complications, irreversible injuries, or even death. If this has happened to you or your loved one, know that you have the legal right to seek compensation for the damages you’ve suffered.
Most cases of pharmaceutical mistakes are filed as medical malpractice lawsuits. With the help of your medication error lawyer, you can hold negligent parties accountable, which could be:
- Your prescribing physician
- The nurse or hospital staff who gave you the wrong drug or dosage
- The nurse or hospital staff who administered the drug incorrectly
- The pharmacist who gave you the incorrect medication
- Other medical professionals who contributed to the pharmaceutical mistake
Proving the Liability of Your Healthcare Provider
As the plaintiff, you will need to prove that your prescribing doctor or nurse has indeed performed medication errors that caused the adverse health effects or injuries. Documents or other pieces of evidence that demonstrate the following can help build your case:
- That you followed your physician’s instructions on how and when to take your medicine.
- That you were not made aware of the drug’s harmful side effects.
- That your physician did not consider how the prescription would react against your current medications.
- That the drug issued by your pharmacy was incorrect.
- That the pharmaceutical mistake directly caused the injury.
Seeking Compensation and Damages
Your medication error lawyer can help you gather evidence and hold the parties at fault accountable for the harm and other damages their negligence has caused you. Depending on the outcome of your case, you may receive compensation for:
- Medical bills (e.g., costs of ongoing medical care, hospitalization, surgery, and other anticipated medical bills)
- Disability-related costs (e.g., mobility aids, physical therapies, in-home care)
- Pain and suffering (e.g., physical pain, emotional distress, mental health conditions)
- Disability or loss of a normal life
- Loss of income (compensation for missing work days or losing the job entirely due to disability)
In the worst cases, medication errors also lead to fatal injuries and complications. If your loved one passed away due to their healthcare provider’s pharmaceutical mistakes, you may be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. A medical malpractice lawyer can guide you in the next steps to take to hold the negligent parties accountable and, ultimately, get the compensation you need and deserve to help ease your suffering in these difficult times.
Entrust Your Case to a Dedicated Medication Error Lawyer and Get the Best Possible Outcome
No patient should suffer due to the negligence of professionals who should be advocating for their health and recovery. Unfortunately, the FDA receives over 100,000 medication error reports annually in the U.S. alone. A John Hopkins study also revealed that more than 250,000 people in the country die because of medication and other medical mistakes.
If a hospital or pharmacy error has caused you or your loved one harm, know that help is available, and that our law firm is here for you. We step in to help you understand your rights in these overwhelming situations and advocate for your case through your medical malpractice lawsuit until you get the best possible outcome.
Please feel free to call Kroot Law, LLC at (312) 543-0030 or fill out this contact form for a free, no-obligation consultation with medical malpractice lawyer Jason M. Kroot in the Chicago area.