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Can I Sue If a Doctor Prescribed the Wrong Medication?

You May Be Entitled to Compensation for Medication Errors

According to a paper in the National Library of Medicine, there are 7,000 to 9,000 deaths due to medication errors each year. Furthermore, treatment for medication errors exceeds $40 billion per year in costs with more than 7 million patients affected. Being prescribed the wrong medication can happen in several ways. 

If you were prescribed the wrong medication and suffered an injury as a result, you may be able to sue. Bailey Cowan Heckaman has represented many patients who have been prescribed the wrong medication. Contact us today for a free consultation, or read on for more information.

What Are the Most Common Medication Errors?

Being prescribed the wrong medication is just one of the medication errors that can occur. The paper from the NIH Library of Medicine explores the causes of medication errors and how they may be decreased. 

It states that the most common medication errors are:

  • Failure to communicate drug orders
  • Selecting the wrong drug from a drop-down menu
  • Confusing similarly named drugs
  • Confusing drugs with similar packaging
  • Prescribing the wrong dose

These medication errors are typically the result of human error, although the paper goes on to state that these errors could be decreased with fail-safes and backup systems for electronic prescribing.

Are Medication Errors Medical Malpractice?

Yes, being prescribed the wrong medication could be medical malpractice. Chapter 74 of the Texas Civil Code rules medical malpractice lawsuits and gives two important definitions that make this clear. Health care is defined as any act or treatment performed by a health care provider for a patient during their medical care, treatment, or confinement. 

Furthermore, a healthcare liability claim is defined as “a cause of action against a healthcare provider or physician for treatment, lack of treatment, or other claimed departure from accepted standards of medical care, or health care, or safety or professional or administrative services directly related to health care, which proximately results in injury to or death of a claimant.”

Who Is Liable for Prescribing the Wrong Medication?

In some cases, the doctor prescribing the medication may not have made the error. Nurses and medication aides can also make mistakes. If you were in the hospital, the hospital may be liable even if the doctor prescribed the wrong medication, and certainly when a nurse or CNA makes a mistake. 

Furthermore, the NIH paper also states that medication errors can happen because a system doesn’t have backups and fail-safes to catch mistakes. In these cases, a medical practice or health care system may also be liable. It takes an experienced attorney to determine who is liable for prescribing or giving the wrong medication.

How to Prove Medical Malpractice for Prescribing the Wrong Medication

Doctors and hospitals have a duty to provide a standard of care. This means that they must act in the way that another doctor or hospital would act in similar circumstances. If their actions are not deemed reasonable by this standard, you can sue them for prescribing the wrong medication.

There are four elements that must be present to prove medical malpractice.

  • You must have had a doctor/patient relationship.
  • Your doctor must have violated the standard of care.
  • The medication error must have caused an injury. 
  • You must have sustained damages (such as medical bills or lost income).

To prove medical malpractice, an attorney should call upon witnesses such as other medical experts to prove that the health care provider violated the standard of care. Medical records and expert testimony can also be used to establish the injury and damages.

How Long Do I Have to Sue for Medication Errors in Texas?

The Texas Civil Code defines the statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits. This is the time frame in which you must file your claim. According to the law, you have two years from the date of injury or the date the injury was discovered to file your claim. 

There is an exception for minors. When the wrong medication is prescribed or given to a minor under the age of 12, they have until their 14th birthday to file a claim or have a claim filed on their behalf. However, the law also bars claims from being filed more than 10 years after the date the error was made.

Let Bailey Cowan Heckaman Review Your Case

In short, you can sue if a doctor prescribes the wrong medication. You can also sue if the wrong medication is given to you in the hospital or by a nurse within a health care system. However, these cases can be complex and require experienced legal representation to determine the liable party.
If you have been injured by a medication error, contact Bailey Cowan Heckaman at (888) 367-7160 to schedule a free consultation. We have gained thousands of favorable results for our clients, including medical malpractice claims. Contact us today for experienced legal representation.

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