The Impact of Medication Errors in Nursing and When to Involve an Attorney

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Your doctor may be the one to prescribe you certain medications. But if you are in a hospital or skilled care facility, it is the job of your nurses to ensure you take the medication prescribed by your doctor as prescribed.

Even nurse practitioners in California can only prescribe you medication while under the supervision of a licensed physician.

Prescribed medications are meant to help your body fight infection, relieve pain, and promote your well-being. However, acts of nursing malpractice can cause you harm and threaten your health if your nurses do not exercise due care when administering your medications.

Knowing what to look for regarding medication-related nursing malpractice and when you should speak with a lawyer about your situation can protect you from unnecessary harm. It can also secure compensation to address any losses or needs you experience due to a medication error.

Common Types of Nursing Malpractice with Medications

Doctors are a frequent subject of malpractice allegations, but nursing staff can also commit negligent acts that lead to malpractice lawsuits. A nurse commits nursing malpractice when they commit an act that a reasonably careful and skilled nurse would not have done. When it comes to medication errors, this can include:

Administering the Wrong Medication

Your doctor may have prescribed you the proper medication, but your nurse must exercise care and ensure they administer the correct medication to you.

Numerous medicines have names that sound alike and can be easily confused with one another. Just because the medications may sound similar does not mean they treat the same conditions or will react with you in the same manner.

The wrong medication can interact in unpredictable and dangerous ways with other medications you take. Additionally, the medicine given to you by the nurse in error can lead to side effects that neither you nor your medical team are prepared to address.

Hospitals and care facilities should have controls to reduce your chances of receiving the wrong medicine. However, ensuring you receive the medication your doctor prescribed to you ultimately rests with the nurse who administers it.

Giving You the Incorrect Dose of Medication

The right medication in the wrong dosage can be just as dangerous as giving you the wrong medication. If the dose given to you is too low, the medication may be ineffective for the condition or issue it is meant to address. Receiving too much medication can cause additional health complications or even death.

Your nurse should regularly review your prescription and your doctor’s instructions, including the dosage and timing of your doses. If your nurse is not able to follow these instructions, it is imperative they promptly inform your doctor.

Ignoring Obvious Errors and Issues With Your Medication

Your nurse may not have the same education as your doctor, but they can still possess enough knowledge to spot obvious errors in your prescription. Your doctor may have prescribed a medication that:

  • Is not approved for treating the condition you have, even off-label
  • Has a suspicious dosage because it uses the wrong units or is unusually high
  • Is known to have negative interactions with other medications you take

Your nurse should bring these and other similar issues up with your doctor as soon as possible so that corrective actions can be taken, if necessary. Your nurse cannot avoid liability for failing to address these issues by blind deference to your doctor.

Your nurse should also monitor your vital signs and condition and report any issues they notice to the doctor. If you begin to develop side effects, especially ones that risk your health, prompt intervention may be needed.

Not making regular rounds to check on you or not reporting significant changes in your physical or mental condition can lead to a nursing malpractice suit.

When to Call on a California Nursing Malpractice Lawyer

If you leave the hospital hurt or develop an illness or injury while in an assisted living facility, talk to an experienced nursing malpractice lawyer right away. You only have a limited amount of time to exercise your legal rights, and filing a claim for damages is essential to securing the compensation you need to provide for your needs.

The Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq. Are Available to Help You

Entrust your legal rights to an experienced and knowledgeable physician and attorney — Bradley I. Kramer. The Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq. can efficiently investigate your situation and take action to protect your interests. Call our office today for a free consultation.

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