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Doctor Prescribed Wrong Medication: Is it Malpractice?

Medication Errors

We trust our doctors and pharmacists to help us find the right prescription drugs to cure what ails us. The complicated makeup of pharmaceuticals and each individual’s body chemistry means that these professionals must keep a close eye on patients when it comes to type of medication, dosage, and other factors that keep us safe. These two professionals work hand in hand to make sure you get the right type and amount of each medication. If there are errors and the patient doesn’t get the right medication or the wrong strength, serious side effects can negatively affect the patient’s health, sometimes resulting in tragic death. If this happens, a medical malpractice suit may be your legal recourse.

Incorrect Quantity of Medication Given

The federal entity that classifies and keeps track of prescription medication is the Food and Drug Administration, or the FDA. They also keep track of a number of other statistics dealing with medication, including when there are mistakes and errors made by medical professionals. Since the turn of the century, the FDA has recorded around 100,000 medication error reports. In addition to this number, over 40% of fatalities caused by medication errors were due to incorrect dosage quantity. The most at-risk group for a medication error is with older patients, since they tend to take more medications on average than other age groups, increasing the likelihood of drug interactions and side-effects.

Given The Wrong Medication

Although less likely today due to technological innovations in labeling and inventory, sometimes a patient receives the wrong medication. It could be that some pills are too similar in size, shape, and color to differentiate at a quick glance. This mistake could cause side-effects and other drug interactions in the patient. The pharmacist could also have a hard time reading a doctor’s handwriting and misread a medication on the prescription. Many medications are typed out these days to help prevent this. To prevent this, the FDA reviews brand and generic prescription names, labels, and wrapping to help differentiate medications and keep the miscommunication to a minimum. 

Safety Strategies

One way to keep negative drug interactions to a minimum is to make sure your prescribing doctor knows about any allergies you are aware of and any other medication you are on. Then the doctor can tell you what interactions certain medications may have and change it if they are dangerous. If you’re ever picked up a prescription before, directions on how to take the medication is on the bottle, and now increasingly a separate document so that you know how to safely take the medication. Be proactive! If you don’t know what a medication is, ask the pharmacist to help you. If you are worried about any side-effects, tell them your concerns. This is a good way to help catch any possible mistakes and keep you safe.

Contact a Pittsburgh Lawyer to Discuss Your Medical Malpractice Case Today!

Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to medication mismanagement in Pennsylvania? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive medical malpractice attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Berger and Lagnese represent clients injured by medications throughout Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh, Altoona, Erie, Butler, Mercer, Franklin and the surrounding areas. Call us today at 412-471-4300 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation. Our main office is located at 310 Grant Street Suite 720, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.