There are five medication administration errors that can cause harm to a patient. If one or more of these happened to you and compromised your health, then you might be able to sue for significant compensation. Here’s what a knowledgeable Kansas City medical malpractice lawyer wants you to know.
Five Medication Administration Errors
It’s critical to a patient’s health that they receive the right kind of medication in proper doses, so medical professionals adhere to the following five rights of medication administration:
- The right patient
- The proper medication
- The accurate dose
- Provided at the correct time
- Dispensed by the correct route
Patients suffer physical or psychological harm when these rights aren’t followed or are accidentally broken. All it takes is one minor error in one of these five rules of medication administration to result in harm, such as:
- Giving the wrong type of medication to a patient
- Prescribing a medication at the wrong time intervals
- Dispensing the wrong medication dosage to a patient
- Distributing medication to the wrong patient
- Administering the medication through the wrong route
Giving the wrong medication to a patient starts a cascade of complications. Here are a few reasons why:
- They’re not being treated properly for their particular condition.
- They might experience an adverse reaction, including a negative interaction with another type of medication.
- Patients with specific allergies could have a deadly allergic reaction.
- Those taking certain medications could experience life-threatening effects when the medications interact the wrong way.
- The wrong dose or time intervals can cause an overdose or dependence to develop for the medication.
How Do Medication Administration Errors Happen?
Some of the most common medication error causes are:
- Distractions in the work environment
- Distortions from illegible writing or miscommunication
- Using abbreviations instead of spelling out the name or dose
- Not considering patient factors like age, allergies, and medical conditions
- Shift work
- Being rushed
- Failing to follow up with patients on medication side effects
Health care professionals who are balancing multiple responsibilities due to staff shortages tend to make more medication mistakes. One way to combat this as a patient is to ask questions about all your medication requirements so you and the provider share an overview together and help avoid mistakes.
When Can I Sue for a Medication Error?
When health care professionals ignore or dismiss your questions, and you suffer harm, then you might be looking at negligence. An attorney with expertise in medical malpractice cases can review what happened and determine what your next steps should be. Here are the four components of a medical malpractice claim.
Duty to you
This is the existence of a doctor-patient relationship between you and the medical professional. So you’ll need to prove the medical professional was providing medical care to you.
Breach of duty
This is any negligent action or failure to act that caused you harm. It requires significant evidence proving carelessness, recklessness, or a specific error that was made by the medical professional.
This element connects the act of negligence to the damages you suffered. Evidence must point to the idea that the medical professional’s medication error is directly responsible.
These are any kind of physical or psychological harm you suffered from the medication error. There are several types of compensatory damages you could be eligible for, depending on the nature of your injuries:
- Economic damages include any financial losses from medical bills, additional treatment, medication necessary due to the error, and lost wages from missed work. Property damages and loss of employment opportunities also fit this category.
- Non-economic damages cover emotional distress, pain and suffering, loss of companionship, loss of enjoyment, and psychological harm.
- Lastly, punitive damages are awarded only in the most severe cases. A medical professional must have intentionally caused harm to a patient or committed severe negligence. These damages are designed to punish the person liable for damages to reduce the chances of something like this ever happening again.
Proving these damages requires considerable evidence. Consult with an experienced lawyer about what’s necessary to build a strong case.