Maybe you’ve been suffering from a mysterious and debilitating health condition for a while now, and you’re doctor-hopping to receive an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment. Maybe you finally receive a diagnosis, and your doctor prescribes a medication that makes you feel even worse than you did before because of major gastrointestinal issues, neurological issues, you name it. You might be starting to think that you received the wrong diagnosis, the wrong medication, or both. This begs the question: can you sue a doctor for prescribing wrong medication?
Below, Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at our law firm answer this question and more. If you believe you have grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, call us today at 312-321-1111 to schedule a free consultation.
What is a Medication Error?
A medication error occurs when a doctor prescribes the wrong medication or the wrong dosage to a patient and it causes major side effects, illness, injury, or even wrongful death. Medication errors often fall under the legal umbrella of medical malpractice because they can lead to life-threatening health complications, and negligent doctors should be held accountable for that.
Types of Medication Errors
There are many types of medication errors that a patient can suffer from. The most common ones are listed below.
- Prescribing the wrong prescription or dosage
- Failing to provide one or more necessary medications in order to treat a condition
- Prescribing one or more medications that the patient is allergic to
- Mislabeling a prescription
- Prescribing a drug that directly interacts with another drug that the patient is taking
- Failing to give the patient instructions about how to take the medication or how much of the medication they should take in a sitting
- Failing to warn a patient about the prescription’s possible side effects
- Prescribing a medication to the wrong patient
If you have suffered from one or more of these medication errors, you may have grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. Contact a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer at Curcio Law Offices, and we’ll tell you how to best proceed through a free case evaluation.
Common Types of Drug Injuries
An incorrect, and therefore harmful medication can lead to a host of life-threatening health consequences, including:
- Heart attack
- High blood pressure or low blood pressure
- Excessive bleeding
- Blood clots
- Mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, panic, delirium, psychosis, etc.
- Organ failure
- Chronic gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, etc.
- Major hormonal imbalances
- Chronic pain
- An allergic reaction
- Wrongful death
If your doctor prescribed the wrong medication or the wrong amount of a medication and you suffered one of the aforementioned drug injuries, you may have grounds to file a medical malpractice claim.
How Often Do Medication Errors Happen in the U.S.?
Receiving the wrong drug or the wrong dose from a doctor is a more common occurrence than many of us may think. The Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) claims that 1.5 million Americans experience drug-related injuries and illnesses every year.
Prescribing the wrong medicine or dosage may seem like a simple mistake with an easy fix, but this is often not the case. These types of mistakes are very expensive to treat and resolve. In fact, the AMCP claims that it costs approximately $3.5 billion to treat medication injuries every year in hospitals. Meanwhile, it costs approximately $77 billion to take care of drug-related deaths every year.
How Do Medication Errors Happen?
So you may be thinking: how do medication errors happen? Most wrong medication cases happen due to the following reasons.
- Poor doctor-patient communication about medical history, medical conditions, symptoms, etc.
- Poor doctor-doctor communication about medical conditions, symptoms, prescriptions, etc.
- Drugs that look similar or drug names that sound similar (therefore increasing chances of prescribing the wrong drug).
- Munchausen syndrome, which is a psychological condition in which a patient pretends to be sick or injured to receive attention and unnecessary medical care.
- Munchausen’s by proxy is a similar psychological condition in which a parent or guardian purposely makes their child sick (or lies about their child being sick) so that they can receive attention and unnecessary medical care.
- Medical abbreviations that are difficult to read.
- Confusing a medical abbreviation with something else.
- Drug manufacturer errors.
- A medication that’s mislabeled at the pharmacy.
- The doctor failed to diagnose a patient with the correct condition and therefore failed to prescribe the correct medication. For example, maybe a doctor misdiagnosed cancer with a less serious condition that has similar symptoms and then prescribed medication for the less serious condition.
Can You Sue a Doctor for Prescribing Wrong Medication?
So, back to the main question at hand: can you sue a doctor for prescribing wrong medication?
Yes, you can certainly sue if a doctor fails to prescribe the correct medication. However, you must have suffered severe adverse reactions as a result of the medication error and the doctor’s negligence. If you only suffered mild side effects from a certain medication, you will likely have a very weak case, and you’ll be wasting your time and money if you try to file a claim against your doctor. If a doctor prescribed the wrong medication, you’ll also have to gather enough evidence to prove the 4 elements of medical negligence.
How to Prove Medical Malpractice
Because medication errors fall under the large umbrella of medical negligence, you must first prove that a doctor-patient relationship existed. Then, you must prove the 4 D’s of negligence in order to build a strong case against your doctor, pharmacist, nurse, or drug manufacturer. Becoming familiar with these elements of negligence can also help you determine whether it’s worth filing a medical malpractice case.
- Duty of Care: Every single health care professional is required to meet a specific medical standard of care when treating patients. Basically, the medical standard of care is a level of care that any reasonable doctor in the same medical specialty would provide in the same or similar circumstances.
- Deviation of Duty: The doctor deviated from the medical standard of care in some way, whether that is by providing an incorrect diagnosis, prescribing the wrong medications, ordering the wrong tests or scans, etc.
- Direct Cause: The breach caused the patient to suffer severe health consequences. In other words, the doctor’s negligence directly caused harm to the patient.
- Damages: The patient deserves adequate compensation for the damages they suffered from taking the wrong prescription.
In order to build the strongest medical malpractice case possible, you need to hire an expert medical witness (usually in the same field or specialty as the negligent doctor) to analyze your medical records and determine if the doctor definitely prescribed the wrong medication or dosage for your condition. They must also help the victim determine if the wrong prescription or wrong dosage definitely led to some kind of physical injury.
A Chicago medical malpractice attorney at Curcio Law Offices can help you hire the best expert witness. Additionally, we can help you gather sufficient evidence to prove the 4 D’s of medical negligence.
Call Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Curcio Law Offices Today
Medical malpractice – and answering the question: can you sue a doctor for prescribing wrong medication? – is extremely difficult to navigate alone. That’s why you need to speak with an experienced Chicago medical malpractice attorney at our law firm before moving forward. Our legal team has decades of combined experience in successfully litigating medical negligence lawsuits – just check out our results! We are truly the strongest legal representation you can have on your side for legal issues like when a doctor prescribed the wrong medication.
Our Chicago personal injury lawyers are ready to start an attorney client relationship with you today. Call 312-321-1111 to schedule a free case evaluation.