We are fortunate to live in a time and place where a wide variety of medications are available to treat pain, manage illness, and replace hormones or enzymes our bodies fail to produce naturally. At the same time, prescription errors are not as rare as we would like to think. Such mistakes are responsible for harming a tremendous number of people, resulting, according to a recent Johns Hopkins study, in 250,000 deaths in the United States annually.
If you or a loved one has suffered serious consequences because of a medication error for which another party is responsible, you are legally entitled to monetary compensation. The highly capable medical malpractice attorneys at Nagel Rice will see to it that you receive it. For 34 years, from our offices in Manhattan and Roseland, New Jersey, we have fought and won medical malpractice cases, obtaining awards for some of our clients in the millions of dollars. If you live in Essex County, Newark, Paterson, or anywhere in the state of New Jersey, seeking our experienced counsel on your prescription error case may be the wisest decision you ever make.
Types of Prescription Errors
Prescription errors occur in hospitals as well as in private practices and clinics, and can happen anywhere along the chain of command. The doctor may prescribe the wrong medication or write the prescription illegibly. He or she may also prescribe the incorrect dosage or fail to take into account the patient’s allergies or other medications that the new prescription may adversely interact with.
Common types of prescription errors, made by doctors, nurses, and pharmacists include:
- Wrong drug (many medications have similar names, abbreviations, or appearances)
- Wrong dosage
- Wrong route of administration (ear drops in the eye, for example)
- Wrong frequency or duration of treatment
- Failure to take note of patient’s medical conditions, allergies, or medication interactions
- Mislabelling the bottle or packet
- Misreading the original prescription
- Failure to include necessary warnings (e.g. side effects or foods to avoid) on labels
Errors in dosage are the most frequent cause of trouble, estimated to result in an estimated half of all prescription errors. If you or a member of your family has been harmed by a prescription error, you have legal recourse. If you live in New Jersey, the skilled medical malpractice attorneys at Nagel Rice are ready to listen carefully to your story, evaluate your case, and fight to get you the highest possible compensation.
Reasons for Prescription Errors
Though we like to pretend that mistakes “just happen,” in fact the laws of causation are still at work. Doctors may be ignorant or negligent, not well-schooled in all of a drug’s potential side effects or interactions. They may forget to recheck which other medications a patient is taking or what allergies may be on the patient’s chart. Pharmacists may mistake one drug name for another or neglect to put a warning label relative to side effects on a pill bottle. Even with all the advanced technology that assists doctors and pharmacists, there is room for error, not only human error, but technological glitches as well. If a doctor records information that is transcribed into written words by a computer, for example, there is room for mistakes in the process of transcription, particularly if the doctor has an accent, a speech impediment, or is speaking rapidly.
Aspects of the working environment, such as a lack of organization, sloppy methods of recording data, or inadequate communication among healthcare professions can also be to blame. In the end, since no person or system is perfect, all healthcare professionals should be constantly rechecking both their own and one another’s actions.
Exacerbating Factors in Prescription Errors
Some of the problems that occur in doctors’ offices, clinics, hospitals, and pharmacies are systemic in modern society. Doctors, other healthcare professionals, pharmacists and their assistants all share long work shifts, too few breaks and a pressured work environment full of interruptions. Pharmacies in particular are plagued by inadequate training of assistants who get most of their training on the job. The pharmacists tasked with supervising trainees are typically much too busy to do so. Also, society is in general is not fully acclimated to having an aging, so the type on medication labels is often too small for seniors to read, even with glasses.
Nagel Rice Medical Malpractice Attorneys Will Work Hard to Get You Compensation
You may not realize how much compensation you are entitled to receive from a prescription error, but depending on the severity of your illness or injury, how long the ill effects last, and who committed the error, Nagel Rice attorneys may be able to obtain substantial settlements to compensate you for:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation and nursing care
- Disability or disfigurement
- Loss of income, past and future
- Physical pain and emotional anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Wrongful death
Even if you are not certain whether you have a viable case, you should consult with our medical malpractice attorneys. We will take the time to listen to you and evaluate your situation. We will be honest about your chances and won’t take your case unless we are certain we will be able to obtain sizeable damages for you and your family. You can reach us by phone or by filling out a contact form on our website.
Nagel Rice LLP helps their clients with their prescription error claims throughout New Jersey including Bergen County, Essex County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Morris County, Passaic County, and Sussex County.