When Is a Medication Error Considered Medical Malpractice?

Request Your Free Consultation

If the wrong drug is administered—or the right drug through the wrong means—a medication error can be a malpractice incidentHealthcare professionals are—or should be—aware of the risks involved when it comes to medication errors, and they should be well versed in how to prevent them. A medication error can result in irreversible damage, pain, and even death in some circumstances. It is the responsibility of your healthcare providers to avoid such a tragic mistake.

How Healthcare Providers Should Avoid Medication Errors

Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals are expected to follow what is known as the “5 R’s” which help to avoid devastating consequences as a result of being given the wrong medication.

The “5 R’s” ensure that the:

  • Right medication is given to the
  • Right patient in the
  • Right dosage via the
  • Right route and at the
  • Right time.

When there is a failure to follow any one of these guidelines and it results in an injury to a patient, it is a form of medical negligence. The responsible doctor, nurse or other healthcare provider can be held liable through a medical malpractice claim for such medication errors.

Examples of Medication Errors

Potential medication errors can include instances such as…

  • A doctor, nurse, pharmacist or other medical personnel prescribes, administers, or gives the wrong drug to a patient.
  • Crucial information about the patient, such as allergies, test results, or medical history, is not taken into consideration before prescribing a drug.
  • A doctor misdiagnoses the patient and consequently prescribes medication that may be harmful or unsuitable.
  • A doctor fails to account for a child’s size and weight when prescribing or administering medication.
  • Current warnings about the medication are not taken into consideration by the prescribing doctor.
  • Inaccurate labeling or complete lack of a label provides incomplete information to the patient.
  • Drugs are given to the wrong patient.
  • Drugs are administered to the patient in an improper way.

Because of the complex chemical nature of medications, the possibility of making a mistake is always present—and those mistakes, even minor ones, can have serious ramifications for patients.

Potential Damages in Medication Error Cases

Damages for medication errors that may be recoverable through a medical malpractice claim include:

  • Medical expenses. This includes hospital costs, doctors’ visits, medications, surgeries, rehabilitation therapies and other medical costs incurred because of a medication error.
  • Lost income. Any income that you cannot earn because of your injury may be compensable. This includes wages, income from being self-employed, the value of your benefits, and other compensation.
  • Pain and suffering. You may suffer for your physical pain, emotional distress, lasting disability, and other non-economic losses.
  • Out-of-pocket costs. Any other costs you’ve incurred because of the healthcare provider’s negligence may be compensable.

Consulting with an experienced medical malpractice attorney should be your next step if you sustained an injury due to a prescription error or the administration of the wrong medication. Please start a live chat with us now or call us directly at 888-450-4456. We are available for you 24 hours a day, every day, and we would be pleased to provide you with a free consultation about your rights.