Most people assume visiting a doctor or hospital will be a step toward returning them to wellness. Unfortunately for some, that assumption can be deadly.
Johns Hopkins Hospital reported in 2016 that there were more than 250,000 deaths a year due to medication errors. And every year, at least 1.5 million Americans are harmed by medication errors, according to a 2006 report from the Institute of Medicine.
Hospital emergency departments are a particularly risky place for medication errors, the report concluded. That’s largely because personnel lack prior knowledge about a patient who comes through its doors.
These are completely avoidable errors that lead to preventable harm to the patient!
Whether an error of the doctor, the hospital, the pharmacist, the dentist, the nursing home, or its corporate owners, medication errors have become the third leading cause of death in the U.S.
A licensed medical professional has a duty of care to keep you safe, but when a medication error leads to death or injury and there is negligence involved, that can qualify as medical malpractice.
Cause of Medication Errors
Injury from a medication error can occur from either over prescribing or under prescribing medication. It can occur from administering a drug that is contra-indicated for that patient as is outlined in the Instructions for Use (or IFU) that accompanies a drug.
Either way, the drug caused an adverse drug event and it will become our job to see if the nurse, doctor, dentist, or hospital was negligent in their care.
Often communication errors are to blame.
Perhaps the writing on a paper-based prescription was not clear and that led to an overdose. The pharmacist may have filled the prescription with an adult dose rather than a child’s dosage.
A doctor may have prescribed the wrong medication for the condition or without considering the other medications that patient was taking. A nursing home might mix up medications and give the wrong medication to a patient.
Did the doctor or nurse fail to accurately read your chart? Did your dental practitioner inject you with a drug causing an allergic reaction?
These are all preventable medical mistakes involving medication errors.
As your legal representative, the attorneys at The Cochran Firm will have to determine where the negligence lies, and negligence is the key to medical malpractice.
Proving Medical Malpractice
According to the Alabama Medical Liability Act, which governs medical malpractice claims in the state, your legal representative must determine that there is substantial evidence that the medical care provider failed to follow the standard of care and acted recklessly and that is what led to injury or wrongful death of a loved one.
We must prove:
- Negligence – As in many personal injury cases, we
have to show that there was negligence that was outside of the standard of care.
- We must prove that this breach by the health care
provider was directly responsible for the injury or death of your loved one.
- Part of our case will include presenting a licensed medical expert to testify to the above.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a medication error, it is important that you contact The Cochran Firm while evidence is still available.
The burden of proof is on the plaintiff and we must work to gather volumes of medical records and witness and expert testimonials, and we must work swiftly as there is a two-year statute of limitations in Alabama.
We will need to cross check pharmacy logs and seek the opinions of independent medical experts who can provide testimony on a failure to properly prescribe medication.
In the case of a facility that has a corporate owner, we will determine if there is a pattern of medication errors and seek accountability up the chain of command if we find this is the case.
The medical malpractice lawyers at The Cochran Firm will fight on your behalf to make you whole. We will seek compensatory damages for pain and suffering, lost wages, the cost of surgery, and future medical needs.
The Cochran Firm – Consumer Litigation Group understands how to put you first, and we will pursue your case aggressively until we recover the compensation you deserve for your injury.