Medication Errors Attorney
Medication errors are one of the most common medical errors that occur in hospitals in the United States, with over 1.5 million reports each year. On average, every hospitalized patient has at least one medication error each day in the U.S. However, most medication errors have either little effect on a patient or no long-term effects (when the harmful effects of the improper drug wear off over time). However, in a significant number of cases, a medication error can cause permanent long-term injury and disability or death. Many medication errors are only noted from a review of medical records after a patient is discharged from a hospital, or when a nurse discovers the error before any significant harm of injury occurs. However, when a medication error results in a clinically significant injury to a patient, the hospital is required to notify the patient or the family about such a medication error and its effect on the patient. Because medication errors are rarely defensible, many physicians will downplay the effect of any admitted medication error or claim to not know the effect. Since many medication errors occur in patients with underlying medical conditions, or even multiple underlying conditions, the specific effect of a medication error may be more difficult to identify. Unfortunately for patients and their families, many physicians will attempt to hide the effect of any medication error under the complexity of the patient’s initial medical problem. In such situations, any patient or family who is aware of a reported medication error should have the patient’s medical records reviewed by a careful and competent medical malpractice and negligence attorney to determine the relationship between the medication error and the patient’s medical condition.
Often, the only evidence of a medication error is the administration of some corrective medication, such as giving Narcan to counter the effects of an overdose of narcotic pain medications, or giving Protamine (Vitamin K) to reverse the effects of an overdose of Heparin. These are two of the more common medication errors that occur in hospitals. The usual cause of most medication errors involve a combination of poor writing by doctors; miscommunications among doctors, nurses, and pharmacists; failure by nurses to check orders given by doctors; and often in serious cases, the cause is usually a combination of errors by multiple medical providers. Because of the implications of any medication error, hospital personnel are taught to put as little as possible in the patient’s chart, and instead to complete a detailed form which goes to the hospital attorney, and is, therefore, never discoverable in a medical malpractice or negligence case.
For more pertinent information regarding the dangers of medication errors, click here for a video summary with Dr. Bruce Fagel.
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