We rely on doctors to prescribe and pharmacies to dispense the medications that we need. Errors in medication in California happen every day though. Some of these errors are documented, but others are not. In either instance, the result can be a serious injury or even death. The one thing that’s certain is that medication errors should never happen. That’s because they’re perfectly preventable.
Some Examples of Preventable Medication Errors
Notwithstanding the efforts of doctors and pharmacists, medication errors continue to be made. Here are a few examples:
- Prescriptions for the wrong medication or dosage.
- Dispensing the wrong medication or dosage.
- Medication labeling and instruction mistakes.
- Not warning a patient of a medication’s possible side effects.
- Prescribing a medication that a patient is allergic to.
The Possibility of Confusion
Doctors are notorious for their sloppy handwriting. Some drug errors result from their penmanship when pharmacists misread prescriptions. For purposes of convenience and safety, many doctors have turned to computerized prescriptions. What comes to issue though is that a doctor might enter an incorrect computer code. Some medications even have similar names that might be confused by both doctors and pharmacists. By holding doctors and pharmacists liable for medication errors, California’s civil justice system provides strong motivation for reducing medication errors and their consequences.
Difficulties in Medication Error Cases
These types of medical malpractice cases can be tricky. Here are a few reasons why they can be difficult:
- Dispensing Errors: A doctor might write a prescription and send it over to a pharmacy to be filled. A pharmacy technician will fill the prescription, and the pharmacist will confirm that it’s correct. The patient picks up the medication at the pharmacy and uses it, but it causes an adverse reaction and permanent injury because it was the wrong medication. Who is liable? Would it be the doctor who prescribed the wrong medication or the pharmacy that filled the prescription with the wrong drug?
- The Adverse Reaction Issue: Just about all medications have side effects that might affect one person but not somebody else. A doctor or pharmacist might not know that a patient had a predisposition for an adverse reaction to a drug. A medication injury can occur without a doctor committing malpractice.
- The Cost of a Lawsuit: A medication error might have occurred, but there might be a genuine question as to whether it might be cost prohibitive to pursue a case. Without severe harm or a wrongful death, victims might have a difficult time finding a lawyer with the resources to subsidize a medical malpractice case. Bringing such a case is typically expensive, especially in the context of expert witness fees, and it’s almost always the lawyer who advances the costs of the case.
If you or a family member were seriously injured, or a family member died as a result of a prescription error in or around Thousand Oaks, contact us here at Quirk Accident & Injury Lawyers, APC, and we can arrange for a free consultation and case review on your medication error case. You’ll be listened to carefully by our California medication error lawyer, and your questions will be answered. After that, you’ll be advised on all of your legal options. The statute of limitations on these types of cases is short, so consult with us as soon as you can.