We put our trust in medical professionals to look after our family members who require medical care, hospice care, respite care, end-of-life care, and more. But what if the very facility we turn to for medical attention makes life a life-threatening error?
That was the unfortunate case for a resident of a Minnesota Golden Living Facility. The resident, with a history of stroke and atrial fibrillation, had been living at Golden Living in Hopkins, MN for several weeks. The unnamed resident was on long-term therapy with Warfarin – an anticoagulant. In October of 2015, an LPN made a transcribing error and placed the Warfarin order on another resident’s record. The unnamed resident did not receive their daily dose of Warfarin for nine days, and the error went unnoticed amongst the medical staff.
The resident was sent to a hospital but died shortly after due to a large ischemic stroke and respiratory failure. What seemed like a small medication error, led to a devastating and preventable death.
Medical professionals are trained to act carefully and ensure unnecessary errors don’t occur. When they don’t meet this standard terrible consequences can occur.
If you or a loved one have suffered at the expense of the wrong medication due to a doctor or other health care professional’s error, you may have the right to compensation. Contact Hampton & King today to discuss a potential wrong medication lawsuit. We can help you get the justice you deserve.
What Are Medication Errors Anyway?
Giving the wrong prescription to a patient can cause severe harm, and even death. It’s bad enough to not have the medication you need, but to have the wrong prescription and ingest medication you don’t need? That can be a very serious problem.
If you ever suffer injury because the doctor prescribed the wrong medication or wrong dosage, don’t settle for an apology. Call your attorney right away, to discuss whether or not you have a case. If you have a good wrong prescription case, you may receive a settlement that helps remedy your losses, or win compensation in court.
When many of us think of medication errors, we think of the pharmacy giving us the wrong dosage, or the wrong bottle of medicine. But medication errors aren’t limited to the pharmacy.
Here are some common medication/prescription errors that occur.
Administering The Wrong Medication
In 2017, an Air Force veteran Ralph Keogh went to a VA medical center in South Carolina for nausea and vomiting. Instead of being given Filgrastim, the veteran was administered Pegfilgtastim. The wrong medication led to pulmonary toxicity and the death of the veteran after 11 days.
This error occurs when a medical professional gives a patient a completely different medicine than the one needed.
Administering The Wrong Dosage
So the medical staff have been administering you the correct medication. But what if they’re giving you too much of it, or too little? A simple error in placing a decimal point can make the difference between receiving a hundred times more (or less) of a medicine.
Not Administering A Necessary Medication
Remember the story of our unnamed resident in a living facility? It’s the case of not administering a patient necessary medication. When a patient’s life is dependent on a specific medication, but they aren’t given it, their illness/injury can get worse. And in the case of our unnamed resident, it could lead to a tragic death.
Prescribing A Medication The Patient Is Allergic To
It is a physician’s duty to thoroughly check a patient’s medical history to look for any allergies. They should also conduct their own patient history to rule out any allergies. If a doctor administers a medication that a patient is allergic to, it can make matters worse instead of helping the patient heal.
Mislabeling A Medication
Mislabeling a medication can result in a patient taking a completely different prescription, or a different dosage. This can lead to severe injuries.
Prescribing A Medication That Won’t Interact Well With Current Medications
Let’s say your doctor does everything right in prescribing the correct medication with the correct dosage. But what the physician failed to do is check how the new medicine would interact with your existing prescriptions. Some medications don’t mix well at all and can lead to more harm than good.
Not Warning About Possible Side Effects
Warning a patient about possible side effects can be the job of the doctor, nurse, or pharmacist. Patients should be informed of what side effects can occur while taking specific medications.
Providing Medication Without Adequate Instructions
Certain medications don’t work well if you consume specific foods or perform specific daily tasks. When prescribing a medication, the medical professional should tell you exactly how to take it, when to take it, and what not to do while taking it.
Any of these medication errors can result in serious harm or even death to a patient.
How To File A Wrong Medication Lawsuit
More than 131 million people use prescription drugs in the United States. That’s over 66% of all adults. Of all the prescriptions being written and administered, errors are bound to occur. Sometimes these errors can lead to absolutely nothing – no harm, no damage. But in many cases, patients suffer preventable injuries. And if that happens, compensation could be available if a wrong medication lawsuit is filed.
Given the wrong medication alone is not enough to receive a wrong medication lawsuit settlement. What you have to show is that a medication error led to unnecessary injuries or worsened an illness. And what’s more important? The medication error was due to a medical professional’s negligence.
Proving negligence is not easy. That’s why it’s best to speak to a professional attorney who has experience with medical malpractice cases.
Here is what your claim must show:
- Your medical provider had a duty to provide you with proper care. This includes administering the correct medication, with the correct dosage.
- There was a breach of duty. Did the medical staff not pursue any allergies to a medication? Were staff members careless when transcribing the medicine?
- The pain/harm you sustained was because of your provider’s negligence.
- All the damages you suffered because of the neglect, including pain and suffering.
What You Need To Do Before Filing Your Claim
You know what your case needs to show, but what should you do before you file?
You’ll want to be adequately prepared before filing any medical malpractice claim. That means gathering all the necessary information related to your case. This includes:
- Medical documents (including lab results, x-rays, etc.)
- Medical bills. You’ll want to include them in your claim.
- All communication that took place between you and your provider
- Your medications/prescriptions
Settlement Of A Wrong Medication Lawsuit
Here’s the thing. Your wrong prescription claim will be different from other claims. Every wrong medication lawsuit is uniquely different, and the settlements are too. It really depends on the state you live in (laws vary by state) and especially on the following:
- The work you missed and thus the wages you lost because of the injury.
- The suffering caused by the injury, whether physical or emotional.
- The medical expenses caused by getting prescribed the wrong medication or dosage.
How to calculate your estimated compensation:
One of the best ways to figure out the value of your case is to determine the economic damages the malpractice caused. These damages should be, in theory at least, covered by your compensation.
Here are a few more common economic damages examples:
- Job or business lost in recovery or due to a disability
- Future income lost because of a disability
- Income lost in your recovery
- Future medical and hospital costs
- Medical and hospital costs
You can use this list to help you figure out what, at least in part, you should receive compensation for.
How Much is The Average Wrong Medication Lawsuit Settlement?
This is a very common question, and for obvious reasons. You want to know how much your medication lawsuit is worth, because you need to know whether or not it’s worth pursuing.
Whether you’re asking about a pharmacy malpractice settlement, or being compensated for getting the wrong medication or something similar, the reason is the same. It’s important to know!
The problem is, it’s very difficult to give an average case settlement, because there are so many variables unique to each specific case. In other words, there’s no perfectly accurate average worth throwing out there. The good news is, you can use the list above to figure out an estimate, and if you ask your attorney, he or she can help you further.
Lastly, if you’re really just dying to get a good, hard number to chew on, here’s the average and median verdict in medication error cases:
According to a Jury Verdict Research study, the average verdict in an improper medication case is $3,539,541. Don’t put too much stock in that though, because every case is so unique. And also, the median is more accurate.
The median settlement appears to be $1.2 million. (The verdicts ranged from $2,074 to $35,500,000.) (Source)
Keep in mind, there have been many medication malpractice cases with settlements that reached well into the millions, but also many that settled for much, much less.
Contact An Attorney
Handling a medical malpractice case on your own is a difficult feat. Having the right team of attorneys by your side can help you get the justice, and compensation, you deserve.
Medical malpractice cases usually have a very strict statute of limitations. You usually have two years to file your claim. If you pass this statute of limitations, you might not receive any compensation.
Our health is our most important asset. Sometimes life takes its course and we are dealt with medical issues that are beyond our control. But suffering at the hands of a medication error that occurs from negligence? That’s not okay. We understand the devastation medication errors can bring into your life, or the life of loved ones. That’s why we are committed to stand by your side throughout a wrong medication lawsuit. Contact us for an initial consultation. It’s on us.
Wrong Medication Lawsuit Quick Answers
What is medication negligence?
If a healthcare provider negligently prescribes the wrong medication, or doesn’t view the history of the patient’s prescription drug use before prescribing, or dishes out the wrong dosage, they may be negligent.
Can I sue a doctor for prescribing wrong medication?
Doctors do get sued for prescribing wrong medication, but probably not as often as they should. If your doctor gives you the wrong medication and you are harmed as a result, speak to your malpractice attorney to figure out your options. You may have a case.
What’s the average settlement value of a medication error lawsuit?
In many cases, you can receive compensation over $100,000, if you suffered injuries and sustained damages. Especially if you lost your job or couldn’t work or run your business as a result. In fact, your settlement would likely double in that case, if not more. Finally, class action lawsuits are often worth well over $10,000,000. *
What is the average payout for medical negligence, in general?
The Journal of the American Medical Association says the average payout for medical malpractice is $329,565. Keep in mind though, that cases vary, and compensation will vary by a lot from case to case. It all depends on the specific details of your lawsuit.
Can you sue for wrong medication?
Absolutely, yes. For example, if a pharmacy gives you the wrong medication, and you’re harmed as a result, you can sue the pharmacy for the damages. Many people sue not just to receive a settlement, but also for moral reasons, like preventing the pharmacy from doing the same to others in the future.
How long does it take to settle a medical negligence claim?
Most likely? Six months to a year, and possibly longer. There’s a backlog of cases to consider in US courts. So it can take more time than you’d expect, unfortunately.
What if the pharmacy gave me the wrong prescription?
If your pharmacy gives you the wrong prescription, there’s a few things you’ll probably want to do (every situation is different, and ultimately it’s up to you of course). If you think you need to, you can certainly seek immediate medical attention. You can call your doctor, and you can also report the error to the pharmacy. And if the medication harmed you and you believe you deserve compensation, you can call your attorney to discuss your options.
What is considered pharmacist misconduct?
State laws vary, generally speaking, but here’s a few examples of pharmacist misconduct from the California State Board of Pharmacy:
- The pharmacy is unacceptably cluttered, dirty and/or unsanitary in some way.
- The pharmacist breaks confidentiality, revealing information about your prescription for example.
- Someone who is not a pharmacist fills your prescription because the pharmacist isn’t there.
- Someone who is not a pharmacist is allowed to give you advice about your prescription.