Being on a medication can be stressful when knowing the side effects and remembering to take the medication regularly. It can be particularly stressful when your doctor prescribes you the wrong medication. If this happens to you, you may have a medication malpractice case.
If a doctor prescribes the wrong medication or dosage, you may have a claim. If you think a doctor has prescribed you the wrong medication or dosage, confront the doctor immediately. Your concern at this point is your health, not a malpractice suit.
Types of Medication Malpractice
According to the Food and Drug administration, prescription medication errors cause at least one death every day and injure approximately 1.3 million people annually in the United States. A physician or pharmacist might be liable for:
- Prescribing the wrong drug.
- Prescribing the wrong dose.
- Prescribing the wrong concentration.
- Administering a drug too quickly.
- Administering a drug by an improper method.
- Being unaware of the other medications the patient was taking at the same time.
- Failing to warn a patient of an expected drug interaction risk.
Medication Malpractice | Coumadin
One of the most commonly misused medications is Coumadin, also called warfarin, an anti-coagulant or blood thinner used to prevent the body from forming dangerous blood clots. Patients who have atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat) or artificial heart valves often take Coumadin. While effective in preventing strokes, heart attacks, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), embolisms, and blood clots, the misuse of Coumadin can put patients’ lives at risk. Doctors must carefully monitor patients taking Coumadin. There is a very thin margin between a patient being helped or harmed by Coumadin. If the level of the medication is too low, the patient is at risk for blood clot formation, strokes, and pulmonary embolisms. If the level is too high, the patient is at risk for severe internal bleeding, hemorrhagic stroke, and death.
Medication Malpractice | Coumadin Birth Issues
Coumadin is of particular danger to pregnant or breastfeeding women. It can cause birth defects in an unborn baby that may include:
- Central nervous system defects
- Spontaneous abortion
- Ocular defects
- Fetal warfarin syndrome
Because of the serious need to monitor Coumadin levels, any negligence in this could make a physician liable for damages and suffering.
Medication Malpractice | Avandia
Other commonly mis prescribed medications include Avandia for diabetes and the anti-inflammatory Vioxx (discontinued).
Pharmaceutical companies may be liable for damages. Likewise, the pharmacist. The pharmacist filling your prescription also has an obligation to fill your prescription correctly and answer any questions you have. You may have a claim due to preventable errors including:
- Poor handwriting on prescriptions.
- Similar-sounding names of prescription drugs.
- Confusion about correct dosage amounts and instructions.
- Confusing labeling and package content on both over-the-counter and prescription drugs.
- Use of abbreviations.
Pharmacists are medical experts, too, though. Don’t hesitate to ask them questions.