Determining the type of medication that a patient should receive and then dispensing that medication accurately is a science, an exact science, and it must be done precisely. Any number of adverse reactions can happen to people when they receive the wrong medication and or the wrong dosage.
In the most extreme cases, a patient can die. In other instances, patients can suffer from seizures, strokes, heart attacks, lost consciousness, dizziness, lost sensation, rapid heart rate, diminished blood pressure and heart rate, accelerated heart rate, memory loss, nausea, vomiting, and on and on.
While some of these injuries will be temporary, others will be long term and even can be permanent. Sometimes a patient’s lifestyle will be completely changed. Not only with they have to change the way they live, but the lives of their loved ones will be irreversibly altered.
One reason that these mistakes happen is due to poor communication; the doctor simply did not receive the patient’s medical history, report of allergies, and a list of other medications that the patient was on. Other times, the doctor prescribed the wrong dosage. The proper drug to cure an ailment can sometimes be given to the wrong category of persons; pregnant women for example.
It also happens that a nurse administering the medication does so wrongly; either giving the patient too much, too little, or even the wrong medication.
Therefore, medical malpractice premised upon medication errors can implicate more than just a physician. Nurses can be held accountable, so to can anesthesiologists. Medical assistants can be held liable as well.
Pharmacies and pharmacists can be held liable as well. Pharmacists can receive the prescription, but fill the prescription wrongly. Again, the dosage can be too great or too slight. Pharmacists can also mislabel the medication, causing the wrong patient to get the drug. Or the mislabeling could give the patient the wrong instructions or omit warnings. Additionally, the wrong drug may be dispensed; remember that some medications have similar names. Lastly, pharmacists are often aware of the patient’s medication list. While they are not obligated to question a doctor’s decision to prescribe a certain drug, the pharmacist must still inform the patient that a prescribed drug can negatively interact with another drug that the patient is taking.
Now you can add pharmacists and pharmacies to the list of medication error defendants alongside of general practitioners, anesthesiologists, nurses, hospitals, and physicians’ assistants. Hospitals and pharmacies make it on the list because as employers, the negligence of their employees is imputed onto them.
Lastly, the companies that manufactured the drug can be held accountable as well if they manufactured the drug wrong, or if they failed to warn patients of dangers associated with the drug’s use.
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.