In the United States, medical malpractice is governed by states, not the US government. For a patient to win a medical malpractice suit, the patient must demonstrate the physician provided substandard care and the patient’s injury was a direct result of that same substandard care. The patient must also file their claim within the individual state’s statute of limitation.
In New York, the statute of limitation for a medical malpractice claim is two and a half years from the date of malpractice or from end of continuous treatment. After the patient has demonstrated that their injury was caused by the physician’s negligence, the court will determine the monetary award the patient should receive.
Typically, courts will take into consideration actual economic losses, as well as noneconomic losses. Actual economic losses are things such as lost income and the cost of future medical care, while noneconomic losses are things such as pain and suffering.
One type of medical malpractice patients may fall victim to are errors in medication. There are up to 1 million deaths every year due to errors made in providing or prescribing patients medication. People in the medical profession who are typically responsible for such medication errors include, but are not limited to physicians, nurses, or even pharmacists. Types of medication errors that can occur are confusion of drug names, dangerous drug combinations, side effects, and prescribing the wrong medication.
Confusion of drug names occurs when an error is made in providing the patient with the drug that was actually prescribed and, instead, giving the patient a similarly named, but completely different drug. Dangerous drug combinations occur when a patient is currently on one medication and prescribed another medication that may have dangerous effects on the patient.
Side effects may or may not occur in a patient, however, each individual patient is different, and as such, a patient may experience adverse reactions to a medication they are prescribed. Finally, prescribing the wrong medication occurs when the patient is prescribed the correct medication, however, the patient is actually given a different drug.
One of the most common ways a patient may suffer a medication error is actually being prescribed too much, or alternatively, too little of a medication. This may occur in one of the following ways: the prescription the physician provides is correct, however, the administering nurse dispenses the medication incorrectly; equipment used to administer the medication malfunctions; or the physician writes a prescription with the incorrect amount on that prescription.
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