People take medication to make themselves feel better and they trust that their doctors will prescribe the proper medications to properly treat their health conditions.
Unfortunately, however, prescription drug errors are all too common. In fact, according to a recent national report prepared by the Institute of Medicine, between 44,000 and 98,000 deaths occur in the United States each year as a result of medical errors in hospitals alone. Approximately 7,000 deaths each year are related to medications and medication prescription errors. The sad fact is that most of these deaths would have been preventable, were it not for the negligence of doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers.
In the State of Florida, prescription drug errors fall under the umbrella of the Florida Medical Malpractice Statute. When doctors and other health care providers make prescription drug errors, patients are likely to suffer serious injuries, and in the worst cases, death.
If you have been injured as a result of a medication or prescription drug error, you may be entitled to monetary compensation under Florida law. Our Florida prescription drug error lawyers can review all of the facts and circumstances of your case with you and can help you to obtain the monetary compensation that you need and deserve under Florida law.
Common Medication Errors Made by Doctors
Medication errors are typically made by doctors, but they can also be made by pharmacists and nurse practitioners. Particularly in the fast-paced emergency room setting, doctors are trying to move very quickly, and medication and diagnosis errors, unfortunately, are all too common in Florida. The following types of prescription medication errors are the most common:
- Dispensing incorrect medications
- Dispensing the incorrect medication dosage
- Prescribing the incorrect medication
- Miscommunication between the doctor/nurse and pharmacist
- Illegible handwriting by a pharmacist or doctor, including misplaced decimal points
- Failing to recognize or appreciate a patient’s drug allergy
- Failing to recognize or appreciate drug interactions in patients
- Failing to appreciate a patient’s current medical condition and the effect that a particular drug prescription or medication may have on that medical condition
- Confusing drug packaging
Burden of Proof
In prescription drug error cases, as with all medical malpractice cases, the injured patient has the burden of proving negligence on the part of the health care provider. Prescription drug and other medication errors are usually caused by overworked doctors, nurses, pharmacists, or other healthcare providers who practice medicine in a busy setting.
In medical malpractice cases, including medication error cases, health care providers are held to the standard of care of a reasonable health care provider (doctor, nurse, or pharmacist) acting under the same or similar circumstances. When these health care providers deviate from the applicable standard of care, an injured patient may be able to prove medical negligence or medical malpractice on the part of that health care provider. An injured patient must also prove that the healthcare provider’s negligence proximately resulted in injuries and damages.
Common Injuries that Occur as a Result of Prescription Drug Errors
When a hospital or healthcare provider errs in prescribing a medication, extremely serious injuries and damages can result. Some of the most common injuries and damages that can result from prescription drug errors include the following:
- Disfiguring skin conditions
- Respiratory problems
- Organ failure
- Organ damage
- Cardiac arrest
- Brain injury (including traumatic brain injuries)
- Drug overdose
- Psychological consequences (including depression)
- Neurological damage
- Wrongful death
Potential Damages Resulting from Prescription Drug Errors
In addition to proving negligence on the part of the health care provider who negligently prescribed the medication, the injured plaintiff must prove that this negligence resulted in certain injuries or damages. An injured plaintiff may be able to recover damages for past and future medical and hospital bills lost wages for time missed from work, pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, permanency, and wrongful death, in the worst cases.
In order to successfully prove negligence on the part of a health care provider in a prescription drug error case, expert medical testimony is almost always necessary at trial. In other words, a second health care provider would need to testify that the physician who prescribed the drug did something wrong or acted in a careless, reckless, or negligent manner. Only upon a showing of negligence by the prescribing healthcare provider can the injured plaintiff receive monetary compensation for the injuries and damages he or she sustained.
Contact a Clearwater Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Case
Medication errors can result in serious and debilitating side effects, injuries, and even death, in the most serious cases. If you or someone you love was injured as a result of a prescription drug or other medication error caused by an emergency room doctor or other health care provider, you may be entitled to monetary compensation under Florida law.
Prescription drug error cases are sometimes difficult to prove because there is a strong presumption that a health care provider behaved appropriately. In almost every medical malpractice or medication error case, the expert testimony of a physician or other healthcare provider is necessary in order to prove the malpractice, error, or negligence.
An experienced Clearwater prescription drug error lawyer will have all of the necessary medical knowledge and legal expertise to aggressively advocate for you and assist you with proving the legal elements of your case.
Our experienced lawyers will also be able to meet with you to discuss the facts and circumstances of your individual case, gather the necessary evidence, negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, and if necessary, represent you in court or during an alternative dispute resolution proceeding, such as at a mediation or arbitration.