Are Medication Name Mix-Ups Considered Medical Malpractice?

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As human beings with the ability to make judgments and decisions and purposeful actions, mistakes do happen, and no one is immune from making them. That includes doctors and hospitals, and pharmacists as well. Various pharmacy mistakes can occur, including dispensing incorrect medications, incorrect dosages of medications, or giving incorrect dosing instructions. Prescription medications can have serious effects on the human body, so mistakes that originate from prescription errors can be put people’s lives in danger. The dangers of ingesting prescription drugs not meant for a different patient or taking a potentially harmful dosage of a drug can range from minimal or no effect, to catastrophic, life-threatening injuries.

Medication errors are a serious problem. One drug mistake can make the difference between life and death. If you have been a victim of a prescription error, there are resources available to help you get compensation.

The Severity of Pharmacy Errors

Most pharmacy errors are honest mistakes made by pharmacists who have no intention of harming any patient. However, when a patient suffers serious injuries because of the negligent medication error, a personal injury lawsuit is a way for that patient to recover compensation for the damages and suffering that the patient has endured because of the medication error.

A 2017 report shows that medication mix-ups happen, on average, in one out of every 100 prescriptions. While that is far too often for comfort, severe mistakes that harm patients occur less frequently (about 1 in 1,000). Although it is rare, the physical similarities of certain prescriptions, such as swapping pills that look identical or sound identical, represent a medical error that can cause life-threatening complications in someone’s life.

Pharmacy errors are more common when dispensing commonly named drugs, such as Venofer and Vfend, which are available in the same doses. Vfend treats severe fungal infections in the bloodstream and body, while Venofer treats iron deficiency anemia. Hydralazine and hydroxyzine are two medications that also sound extremely similar but have vastly different medical indications. A mixup of these medications can cause serious complications and can result in life-threatening complications or potentially even death.

Some other medications that could be mistaken for one other include:

  • Labetalol and Lamotrigine
  • Methylphenidate and Methadone
  • Metolazone and Methotrexate
  • Hydroxyzine and Hydralazine
  • Chlorpromazine and Chlorpropamide
  • Clonidine and Klonopin

While many mistakes occur because medications have similar names, doctors use messy handwriting, or pharmacists are just overworked, the pharmacist has a responsibility to make sure that you are dispensed the right drug. Prescription errors are one of the leading causes of medical malpractice lawsuits. If you were subjected to a prescription error, you may have grounds for legal recourse through a personal injury claim, which would be called a medical malpractice claim.

Suffering from Pharmacy Negligence

If you or a family member has suffered because of a pharmacy error, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim to compensate you for your damages and injuries. Even if you think everything is fine, many prescription errors do not have evident symptoms until some time later. You may have additional medical expenses, time off work, pain, and suffering, and your entire life could be changed because of one mistake dispensing drugs. You should discuss your situation with an experienced Los Angeles medical malpractice attorney who is familiar with personal injury claims because of prescription errors. Call the Law Office of Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq., and ask for a free case review.

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