Medication errors are unfortunately common across the United States. Doctors may accidentally prescribe the wrong medication, administer the wrong dosage, or commit another mistake involving prescription drugs, leading to patient harm.
If you have experienced a medication error at the hands of a Missouri healthcare provider, you may be eligible for a medical malpractice claim under certain circumstances. You will need to prove that the healthcare provider’s error occurred due to his or her negligence, and that you suffered harm as a result.
Common Types of Medication Errors
When prescribing or administering medication, medical professionals have several duties. They must make sure to provide correct drug and dosage, warn patients of all potential side effects, and ensure that the patient is not allergic to or taking any other drugs that would have a negative interaction with that medication. If a healthcare provider deviates from this duty and commits a medication error, he or she would be liable for any injuries that a patient sustains.
Common types of prescription drug errors include the following.
- Administering the wrong medication
- Mislabeling the medication
- Prescribing a medication that a patient is allergic to
- Prescribing a medication that interacts negatively with a patient’s other prescriptions
- Administering too much or too little of a medication
- Failure to warn a patient about a medication’s side effects
Multiple parties may be liable for a medication error, depending on the cause of the mistake. A doctor may be liable if he or she wrote the wrong prescription, for example. A nurse may be the at-fault party if he or she administered too much medication to a patient in the hospital. If the error involves prescribing a harmful medication that a patient is allergic to, the pharmacist may be liable.
Elements of a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
If you are the victim of a medication error, you could file a lawsuit against the healthcare provider responsible for the mistake. To secure compensation in your claim, you will need to establish that the at-fault party’s negligence caused the error and your injuries. You and your attorney will need to gather enough evidence to prove the following four elements.
- Duty of care: The at-fault party owed you a duty of care. All medical professionals have a duty to provide a certain standard of care to patients they treat in a formal capacity, such as at a hospital or clinic.
- Breach of duty: The at-fault party breached his or her duty of care through a negligent act or failure to act. His or her actions must deviate from what a similarly trained provider would have done under the same circumstances.
- Causation: The at-fault party’s breach of duty caused your injuries. If a doctor prescribed too much medication, for example, this would be his or her breach of duty. If you overdose on the medication, you can prove that your injuries would not have occurred if the doctor prescribed the right amount.
- Damages: You sustained damages due to the medication error that you can claim in your lawsuit. These may include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.