While the cases don’t receive as much attention as other types of medical malpractice, medication mistakes are one of the most common types of medical negligence. With the amount of prescription medication being given out in the United States, there are thousands of drug errors every day.
Luckily, a relatively small number of people suffer serious injuries, long-lasting injuries, or death. But for some patients who have placed their trust with doctors and pharmacists, the results are tragic.
If you or a loved one has suffered serious injury due to a medication mistake, contact Davis Law Group today for a free case evaluation. Our attorneys handle medical negligence cases in Seattle and throughout Washington state. Please fill out the medical malpractice questionnaire located on this page to get started.
The Nature of Medication Errors
Most people trust that the medication that they receive from the pharmacy or treatment nurse is just what the doctor ordered. Unfortunately, problems with the wrong medication or wrong dosage being dispensed cause numerous serious injuries and cost many lives each year.
According to the Institute of Medicine, every year 1.5 million patients suffer from mistakes with the medicine they're given. An Auburn University study projected the odds of being the victim of a prescription error that results in a serious, health-threatening issue is about 1 in 1,000, a rate that could amount to 3.7 million such errors a per year.
If you believe you've suffered because of a doctor's error prescribing medication, fill out the medical malpractice questionnaire located on this page.
Causes of Medication Errors
The extra costs of treating drug-related injuries in hospitals alone have been estimated at $3.5 billion a year. That does not include the additional medical bills, lost wages, disability claims and other economic losses suffered by the victim and their family.
Medication errors typically fall into two categories:
- Errors by medical staff in a hospital
- Pharmacy errors in filling prescriptions
The specific types of negligence that may lead to a medication error lawsuit include:
- Poor pharmacy management at hospitals and drug stores
- Failing to check prescriptions for accuracy
- Failing to check potential drug interactions for the patient
- Incorrect directions for drug use on labels
- Confusing similar drug names
- Use of pharmacy technicians that have much less training than pharmacists
- Failing to offer face-to-face counseling for new prescriptions between pharmacist and patient as required by laws in 48 states
- Failure to use computer programs designed to warn about drug interactions
- Patient information leaflets containing out of date information about drugs
- Hospital pharmacies being subcontracted out to companies resulting in little communication between hospital staff and pharmacy staff
- Pharmacist or pharmacy technician enters wrong dosage into computer
- Poor maintenance of pharmacy mixing machines
- Nurses in hospitals failing to check the medication going into IV lines
- Pharmaceutical companies labeling different medications similarly and confusingly
Compensation for Medication Error Victims
The experienced malpractice attorneys at Davis Law Group have handled the two major types of medication negligence. We have taken on physicians and hospitals after a serious drug error, as well as pharmacists and pharmacies that have made mistakes filling the prescriptions.
Victims of medication errors cannot file a lawsuit just because they experienced side effects of the drug. For a medical malpractice case to hold up, you must prove that:
- The doctor, hospital, pharmacist or pharmacy was negligent
- You suffered serious and lasting injuries directly from that negligence
If you are able to prove that you have suffered at the hands of the at-fault party, you may be able to recover compensation through an out-of-court settlement or a jury verdict.
Potential damages you may receive include:
- Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages/Earning Capacity
- Loss of Essential Services
- Pain and Suffering
- Loss of Affection/Consortium/Quality of Life
- Out-of-Pocket Expenses
Medication Errors at Hospitals
Some medication errors happen when the doctor or nurse administers the wrong medication or wrong dose to a patient. This may be related to or may occur at any step of the medical process, including in the diagnosis of a patient, or during treatment resulting in medical malpractice.
Some of the most high-profile hospital medication error cases of the past few years have been directly attributable to nurses giving patients the wrong dose of medication.
Medication Errors at Drug Stores
Prescription drug errors in drug stores such as Rite Aid, Walgreens, Bartell Drugs, and in grocery store pharmacies such as Safeway, QFC, Fred Meyer and Costco errors are much more common that most people think.
In addition to filling prescriptions pharmacists in these stores must also answer phones, answer questions about over-the-counter drugs and checkout customers all of which cause distractions that can be deadly. Hospital pharmacies can also make grave mistakes when dispensing medication to the hospital staff for patient use and to patients when they are discharged.
If you've suffered a medication error at one of these stores, contact Davis Law Group today.
Experienced Medication Errors Lawyer
The award-winning attorneys at Davis Law Group have helped victims of medication errors and other forms of medical malpractice for more than 20 years, since being founded by attorney Chris Davis in 1994. We will review your case for free and help you determine if hiring a lawyer is in your best interests.
Use the confidential medical malpractice questionnaire on this page for a free case review and to learn more about your legal rights. If we believe we can help increase the chances of a successful outcome, our attorneys will meet with you for a free legal consultation at your convenience.