Medication Error Attorneys

Medication Error Attorneys in Gainesville, FL

To list all of the advancements in medical care, especially in the last century, would take far too long to document here. Many diseases that were once debilitating or even fatal are now easily treated through advanced procedures and medications. Pharmaceuticals are more common than ever with more than 80% of the U.S. population taking at least one prescription medication and nearly one-third taking five or more prescription medications, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality.

Although medications have made tremendous inroads in treating diabetes, blood pressure, pain and other conditions, the risk of an error naturally goes up when more people are receiving prescriptions.

The Food & Drug Administration estimates that a medication error occurs in 1 in every 5 doses, and since 2000, more than 95,000 medication errors have been reported to the FDA. This number is believed to be much higher since reporting is completely voluntary.

How do medication errors occur?

The FDA defines a medication error as “any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm.” The most common medication errors concern the type of medication and dosage.

These errors can arise out of a wide variety of situations, including:

  • A doctor prescribes the wrong medication for the patient’s condition
  • A pharmacy fills the wrong medication
  • A doctor doesn’t fully understand a patient’s medical history
  • A doctor misplaces a decimal point and either underdoses or overdoses the patient
  • A doctor’s handwriting isn’t clear to the pharmacist
  • A patient receives a medication that doesn’t mix with other prescription(s) he/she is taking
  • A patient doesn’t receive enough instruction or otherwise isn’t informed of the medication’s risk(s)
  • Understaffing of nurses, doctors and pharmacists, and work overload
  • Improper labeling
  • A patient is moved to another facility or provider

Of course, there are other reasons that a medication error can occur. They can also occur just about anywhere, including the emergency room where doctors and nurses are typically under a much higher level of stress.

Common injuries stemming from preventable adverse drug effects include:

  • Stroke
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Organ damage/failure
  • Incontinence
  • Impotence
  • Brain injury
  • Depression
  • Respiratory problems

In extreme cases, the medication error can be fatal. The FDA estimates that medication errors cause over 7,000 deaths each year in the United States.

Medication Errors Caused By A Pharmacy

According to some studies, approximately 10 percent to 15 percent of prescriptions filled in the United States either contain the wrong medication or the wrong dosage. The number could be higher since many cases go unreported. Also, with Florida’s high population of retirees, the risk of pharmacy error is even greater.

Medication errors caused by the pharmacy can occur in many ways, but the most common include:

  • Inexperienced assistants filling prescriptions rather than pharmacists
  • Giving a patient someone else’s prescription
  • Not adequately explaining the medication to the patient
  • Not clarifying any questions with the doctor

In the end, the vast majority of pharmacy errors are preventable. These errors also seem to be more common in pharmacies attached to large national chains, but can occur in any situation.

How do I pursue damages for a medication error?

If you’ve suffered an injury caused by a medication error, you may have grounds to pursue a claim for any additional treatment you require, lost wages and more. It’s important to note that just because a complication or medical mistake occurs, it doesn’t mean you have grounds for a claim. These “tort” type claims are governed under Chapter 766, Florida Statutes.

In order for you to have a valid claim, your injury must have been the result of negligence on the part of the doctor, nurses or pharmacists. To claim negligence, you must be able to prove the following:

  • A breach in the standard of care – A physician has a “duty of care” to the patient to understand their condition, their medical history, any allergies and other medications they may be taking. If the doctor’s or pharmacist’s conduct falls below the generally accepted standard of care, you may have grounds for a claim.
  • The medication error caused damages – In order for you to have a valid claim, you must also be able to prove actual damages in the form of lost wages, additional medical expenses and pain and suffering.

Attorneys at Warner, Sechrest & Butts in Gainesville passionately help patients recover damages caused by medication errors.

Attorneys Marc Warner and Michael Sechrest possess extensive experience helping patients recover damages caused by medication error. Michael Sechrest is also board-certified as a Civil Trial Lawyer by the Florida Bar Association.

If you or a loved one have been adversely affected by a medication error and feel that negligence on the part of the doctor, pharmacist or healthcare facility was the cause, we strongly urge you to contact our office today for a free injury consultation. Complete our contact form or call our offices anytime day or night to discuss your case today.