Protecting the Rights of Patients Who Were Harmed by Prescription Errors
Maryland’s trusted authority for personal injury victims
Prescription errors are among the most dangerous examples of medical malpractice, and they happen quite a bit. The wrong dosage or the wrong combination of pharmaceuticals can have life-long repercussions for patients who are only seeking to get well. Plaxen Adler Muncy, P.A. has protected the rights of personal injury and medical malpractice victims since its inception in 1985. Our attorneys understand how deadly a medication mistake can be, and how high a cost you may have to pay when your doctor’s negligence leads to additional illnesses or injuries. We are aggressive advocates for our clients, and we pursue justice for their suffering on all fronts.
Prescription errors are more common than you might assume
Common errors caused by negligence or careless include:
- Misreading the patient’s chart and not double-checking
- Illegibly scrawling a prescription that makes it impossible for the pharmacist to read
- Prescribing the wrong dosage
- Prescribing the wrong medication
- Prescribing a medication that will counteract a patient’s current prescription regimen
- Prescribing a medication for an “off label” use
- Confusing one drug with another, similar sounding drug
- Failing to disclose all possible risks of taking the medication
- Failing to disclose all potential side effects of the medication
Because of the sheer amount of drugs on the market, accidents occur easily and frequently. But prescription errors not only delay treatment for your illness or injury, they may also have adverse effects on unaffected parts of your body. Prescription painkillers come with the added problem of potential addiction, possibly leaving you in far worse condition than you were originally. In the worst case scenario, a prescription error can lead to a fatal overdose.
Who is responsible?
If the error was the result of negligence or carelessness on behalf of a doctor or a pharmacist, you may be able to file a lawsuit against them. However, the amount of deadly, ineffective and/or defective drugs on the market increases almost every day. There are many medications out there which have not received FDA approval, and have not successfully completed human trials. Plaxen Adler Muncy, P.A. has the skills, the experience and the fortitude to take on complex lawsuits against the pharmaceutical companies who put their profits before the people they serve.
What can I do to prevent a prescription or medication error?
You may not be able to improve the communication between your different doctors or your doctor and your pharmacist, but there are some things you can do to ensure that your needs are clearly communicated to healthcare professionals, and to ensure that you are being prescribed the right medications for your needs.
- Ask a lot of questions. When it comes to your health, there is no such thing as a “dumb” question. Never be afraid to ask your doctor to explain what kind of drug he or she has prescribed, what the potential side effects are, and how long it should take to work. Many doctors hand out pamphlets with medications, or point to the directions on the side of the bottle: it is okay to say this is not sufficient. If you have questions about the medication, ask them, and continue to ask follow-ups until you are satisfied. You have a right to know.
- Keep track of your meds. Keep a running list of what medications you take, and put a copy in your purse or wallet. Then, when you visit the doctor, give him/her an updated copy of the list, so that you don’t end up taking two medications that could counteract each other, or create the risk of dangerous side effects. You should do the same when you fill your prescription as well, so your pharmacists can see what you are taking. Remember: over-the-counter medications, vitamin supplements and recent vaccines should be included.
- Follow the directions on your medications. If a pill says it requires food, eat something. If you are supposed to swallow the pill whole, don’t chew it. If you need an exact dose, don’t rely on a teaspoon; for only a few dollars, you can purchase dosage spoons and droppers to ensure you take the right amount of your medications.
- Call your doctor if you think the medication is a problem. If you feel worse after taking your medication, or feel no better after a few days, contact your doctor right away for a follow-up. Bring your list of medications with you, and make sure you see the same doctor who prescribed the drugs. Communicate your concerns and how you feel as soon as you can.
Medication errors can be really dangerous, but you can take back some control over your healthcare.
Holding responsible parties accountable for prescription errors
Plaxen Adler Muncy, P.A. is proud to serve the people of Maryland. Our experienced personal injury and medical malpractice attorneys always maintain open lined of communication with our clients, because we believe that the informed client is the better prepared client. For a free consultation, please call 410-730-7737 or contact us online. We serve clients throughout the State of Maryland and have law offices in Baltimore, Columbia, Towson, Crofton, Owings Mills, Dundalk, Westminster, Greenbelt and Silver Spring. If requested, we are available to meet you at your home or at the hospital.