All it takes is one seemingly minor medication error to result in disastrous consequences for patients. Serious injuries and even wrongful death can be caused by health care providers and pharmacists. However, you shouldn’t have to pay for your economic and non-economic damages out-of-pocket if someone else is at fault. Ask a Kansas City medical malpractice lawyer about your legal options for rightful compensation.
Common Medication Errors
Some of the most common medication errors happen during prescribing, monitoring, dispensing, and transcribing, and can happen during any phase of giving medicine to a patient. Prescribing is where this process starts. Many prescribing errors happen because of:
- Failure to check a patient's medical history
- Not asking about allergies
- Rushing the diagnosis
- Not considering other medications
Doctors with heavy caseloads and little time for complex cases may fall prey to prescribing prematurely. Effective prescribing requires a certain level of competence and time. The same reasons can lead to monitoring errors, which happen while the patient is taking the medicine. Monitoring errors happen when doctors don’t follow up with patients about:
- Medication use in general if it’s risky for that patient
- Patient complaints about the medication
- Medication filling errors
- Side effects
The next phase where things can go wrong involves the pharmacist, who is expected to correctly interpret the prescription, fill the order, and explain any instructions to the patient. Dispensing errors happen when:
- Medications with similar names are mixed up
- The wrong dosage is filled
Finally, transcribing errors involve minor or major errors in interpreting the doctor’s prescription. A pharmacy tech might misread, misspell, or miscopy the prescription details. This is passed on until the patient receives the wrong medicine or dosage.
How to Sue for a Medication Error
Who’s liable for medication errors? It depends. For example, you might have grounds to file a medical malpractice claim against your doctor. Whether your doctor made a misdiagnosis or failed to detect your past allergies to certain medicines, these are considered a breach of the standard of care.
Once you have the evidence to prove negligence, you must prove damages, your injuries, and how the doctor was directly at fault. But filing a malpractice claim is a complicated, lengthy process, so choose your legal advisor carefully.