Today, there are more prescription drugs available than ever before. These drugs can be quite powerful, and there is no doubt that many of them save (and prolong) lives. By the same token, many prescription drugs also contain harmful side effects (including death) when prescribed or given out improperly. According to a study by the Institute of Medicine, at least one and a half million preventable medication errors happen in the U.S. each year. The study went on to say that “the true number may be much higher.”
Hospitals, medical clinics, pharmacies and nursing homes are all authorized to either prescribe or deliver prescription medications. With so many different parties involved, there is a high potential for error. When patients suffer harm due to prescription medication errors, it is important to seek experienced counsel from a Chicago prescription error lawyer with a proven track record of success in these types of cases. The root cause of prescription drug errors is often hard to pin down. For this reason, victims can benefit greatly from a legal team that has the resources and expertise to find the truth and hold the responsible parties accountable.
Causes of Prescription Errors
Medication errors can happen at any stage of the process; from the initial giving out of the prescription to the delivery by a pharmacist to the monitoring of the response within the patient. Here are some of the more common reasons why an error may occur:
- Doctor’s Errors: Doctors often hand out prescriptions without fully considering the patient’s medical history and other pertinent factors. This can lead to over/under dosages, issuing the wrong type of drug due to a misdiagnosis, or issuing a prescription drug that the patient may be allergic to or have a high probability of experiencing some of its known side effects.
- Hospital/Nursing Home Errors: The doctors and nurses that dispense prescription drugs to patients at hospitals or nursing homes sometimes do so without a thorough understanding of the patient’s history, condition, other drugs they might be taking and the effects of multi-drug interaction. This can also lead to giving out the wrong quantity and/or type of drug, thus worsening the patient’s condition by causing potentially harmful side effects.
- Pharmacy Errors: Pharmacists sometimes fail to fill the patient’s prescription correctly because of errors such as an illegibly written prescription that causes them to give out the wrong drug.
When doctors, pharmacists, hospitals and nursing homes fail to follow proper procedures to prevent prescription errors, it can lead to serious and lasting consequences for victims, in some cases even death. Holding the correct party responsible is important not only to properly compensate those who have been impacted by their negligence, but to ensure that this negligence does not continue to occur. If you or a loved one has suffered illness or death due to a faulty prescription, contact the legal team at Hurley McKenna & Mertz, P.C. Our Chicago prescription medication attorneys have over two decades of experience representing clients in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois and throughout the United States. Call us today for a free consultation at 312-553-4900.