Medical malpractice involving medication errors can happen in all kinds of ways:
Negligent Dosing: Overdose/Underdose
Overdosing and underdosing can occur due to physician error in prescribing, a pharmacist error in labeling or dispensing, or a nurse error in administering. Some of the medications commonly involved in serious dosing injuries include: anticoagulants (blood-thinners), antibiotics, cardiac meds, cancer meds, and steroids. Dosing injuries are seen frequently in infants and young children where safe doses are either unknown or need to be based on the size of the child. Too much can poison a patient; too little won't cure what was intended to be cured.
Like dosing errors, use of the wrong drug can occur due to physician error in prescribing, a pharmacist error in labeling or dispensing, or a nurse error in administering. Wrong drug errors create two types of risks: first, the beneficial effect of the intended drug is not obtained; and second, the wrong drug may cause serious injury to the patient.
Many drugs impact the effect of other drugs. These drug interactions can be dangerous. One of the riskiest drugs for interaction effects is Coumadin. Many drugs and even foods can effect the levels of Coumadin in the blood.
One way this negligence occurs is when a patient gets a drug to which they are allergic. But other times it is because of something called, "cross-reactivity," Cross-reactive drugs describe two or more drugs with similar chemical composition. Giving one drug from a group of cross- reactive drugs to a patient known to be allergic to another may be negligent.
Every drug has potential side effects; but if a physician does not warn a patient about serious potential side effects the patient does not know what watch for and the results can be catastrophic. In some cases, the doctor must monitor the patient with tests to look for side effects the patient can't see, like decreasing kidney function. Failure to educate a patient or to monitor can be negligent.
If you have been injured as a result of medication error, contact the Law Office of Douglas Malcolm today for a free consultation.