What to do if you or loved ones are injured by medication errors
Medical malpractice, simply defined, is any act (or failure to act) on the part of a medical professional which results in injury to you or your loved ones. Errors or omissions in the administration of surgery, medication, anesthesia, or any other type of medical treatment can result in grievous harm to the patient.
This is particularly true in the case of medication errors. If a doctor misdiagnoses your condition and prescribes you an unfit medication, your condition will not improve, and may even worsen. If the doctor accidentally prescribes you a medication to which you are allergic, you may enter anaphylactic shock and die. If your doctor prescribes multiple medications, they may conflict with one another and poison you. If it can be proven that, under reasonable circumstances, the medication errors should not have been made by a competent medical professional, then you have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
In 2012, American medical centers paid out over $3 billion in malpractice compensation, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The various types of malpractice are the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States, behind heart disease and cancer.
One of the most frequent ways in which a person may experience medical malpractice is medication errors—when a doctor prescribes too much, too little, or the wrong kind of medication to treat a person’s ailment. Doctors are capable of making mistakes during their initial prescriptions—advising the patient to take an unsafe dosage, for example. Also, physicians might fail to notice a potentially harmful or even lethal drug interaction, especially if the patient is already taking medications prescribed by other doctors. In hospitals, sometimes prescriptions get mixed up—the wrong medication is given to the wrong patient. The most frequent examples of medication errors are improper dosages, however.
Medication Errors in the Headlines
The available statistics on medication errors are simply appalling. According to a report by CBS News, medication-related mistakes are made in roughly half of surgeries studied. These mistakes included but were not limited to dosage errors, drug mislabeling, incorrect documentation of drug administration, or simply failing to adequately address changes in patient’s vital signs with drugs during an operation. All in all, nearly 80% of the observed errors were found to have been preventable. And this occurred at a hospital with one of the cleanest safety records in the country—Massachusetts General.
In December 2014, an Oregon hospital admitted to administering the wrong drug to a patient, causing her death. A 65-year-old woman was given a paralytic drug instead of the anti-seizure medication she needed. The woman went into cardiac arrest, stopped breathing, and suffered considerable brain damage. Only two days earlier, the woman had entered the emergency room with questions about her dosage, as she had recently undergone brain surgery. Three employees involved in the medication error were placed on leave.
Medication Errors and Liability
If you or a loved one has been a victim of malpractice due to medication errors, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit and obtain monetary compensation for the hurt you’ve suffered. The burden of proof is on you and your attorney, however, to show that actual harm has been done, and that your doctor’s malpractice was the cause of it.
The keyword to remember is negligence. It was someone’s mistaken action or failure to act that caused the medication error, and that mistake caused real injury to you or a loved one. There are two basic conditions which must be satisfied to prove that negligence has taken place: that your doctor failed to live up to the standard of care which you had a right to expect, and that his or her failure caused a material inconvenience to you: increased pain and suffering, a worsening of your condition, loss of wages or quality of life, etc.
If the hospital or medical center which was treating you at the time of the medication error refuses to compensate you fully, you should hire a medication errors lawyer. He or she will then typically hire medical experts to testify at trial. These medical experts—often doctors or physicians specializing in the same area of medicine which the doctor who injured you specialized in—will testify in front of a jury and establish an objective “standard of care” applicable to your situation. The jury will then be able to decide whether your doctor would have reasonably committed the error, or was negligent in his or her responsibilities.
Why You Need a Medication Errors Lawyer
There are three simple reasons why you need to hire a lawyer as fast as possible if you or loved ones have been injured by medication errors. First, time is not on your side. Many states have strict and brief statutes of limitations on medical malpractice cases, and your window of opportunity to file a complaint may close sooner than you think.
Second, hospitals and medical centers are businesses first and foremost, and will be reluctant to pay you a fair settlement. You need an attorney who is aggressive and experienced and not afraid to go up against these large corporate entities, and who won’t settle for any less compensation than you deserve.
Third, evidence has a way of disappearing in malpractice cases—witnesses fade into obscurity, documents vanish, and so forth. The sooner you hire an attorney and he or she starts an investigation, the better chance you have of accruing the necessary proof you’ll need to satisfy a jury that you were harmed by a medical center’s negligence.
Contact Estey Bomberger for Aggressive Legal Representation
If you want to be sure that you’re getting the best medication errors attorneys in California, call the law firm of Estey Bomberger. We are award-winning personal injury lawyers and have decades of experience representing victims’ rights across the state. Our specialty is personal injury law, and we spare no expense to hire medical experts to testify at trial. We can help you take on negligent hospitals or physicians and get you the compensation you deserve. Don’t settle for a fly-by-night law firm—get the aggressive, experienced legal consultation you need today. Contact the law firm of Estey Bomberger at 1.800.925.0723 or go to www.ebtrialattorneys.com.