One-third of adults in the United States take 5 or more medications daily, and there are over 10,000 prescription medications from which clinicians can choose, all of which have their own dosages, instructions, and routes of administration. Unfortunately, this leaves a great deal of room for error. If you or a loved one has experienced an injury, illness or another adverse effect from a medication error made by your physician, clinician or pharmacy, contact Youman & Caputo for a free case evaluation. We are dedicated Philadelphia medication error lawyers who can help you understand your legal rights and pursue fair financial compensation.
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What Are Medication Errors?
Medication Error Statistics
What Are Common Types of Medication Errors?
Potential Consequences of Medication Errors
Fatal Harm Caused by a Medical Mistake
Liability for Prescription Medication Errors
Possible Damages for a Philadelphia Medication Error
How Much Does a Medication Error Attorney Cost?
What to Do After a Medication Error
Speak to a Lawyer Today
Medication errors, sometimes called adverse drug events, are one of the most common preventable medical mistakes in all medical care settings. They occur in both the outpatient and inpatient setting as well as during the transition from inpatient to outpatient. Medication errors are mistakes made by those in charge of prescribing and administering drugs, including doctors, nurses and pharmacies. They can describe:
While most hospitals, long-term care facilities, pharmacies and physician offices have the required policies in place to avoid medication errors, these errors continue to happen because of system flaws, failure to follow proper safety procedures, human error, and poor safety culture. When a preventable medication error causes patient harm, the victim can file a Philadelphia medical malpractice lawsuit for compensation.
Medication mistakes occur much more often than most patients realize. Medical malpractice as a whole is relatively common. In 2016, a study by Johns Hopkins found that medical errors were the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Medication errors are one of the most frequently reported types of medical malpractice.
Medication errors are estimated to account for 700,000 emergency department visits and 100,000 hospitalizations each year. In addition, a staggering 5% of hospitalized patients experience a medication error. Medication errors are likewise common in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
Medication dispensing errors kill 7,000 to 9,000 people in the United States each year, on average. In addition, hundreds of thousands of patients experience adverse reactions or complications from medication errors but do not report these issues. Overall, the total cost of medication-associated errors exceeds $40 billion annually, with over 7 million patients impacted.
Statistics show that the most common types of medication errors are prescription mistakes, issues when ordering medications, failing to obtain a patient’s allergy history, poor professional communication, incorrect patient, unauthorized drug, improper dosage and dosage at the wrong time. Medication errors can occur at any point in the patient’s care or drug administration. Medication errors generally fall into four categories: Ordering, Transcribing, Dispensing, and Administration.
Almost 50 percent of medication errors are ordering errors that occur in the prescribing stage. However, medication mistakes can occur at any stage of patient care. Any type of avoidable medication error in Philadelphia could entitle you to financial compensation from the at-fault doctor, health care professional or drug distributor.
The wrong medication delivered in the wrong way can have devastating consequences – including injury or death. Medication errors can also result in overdosages, under dosages, allergic reactions, or a number of other avoidable, unintended consequences. A victim who does not receive the correct medication may not be able to recover from his or her health condition, for example. In addition, receiving the wrong medication could result in dangerous drug interactions or other health consequences.
For example, in the DiTore case, a surgeon injected a young woman undergoing routine sinus surgery with the wrong drug because the nurse had mixed up the drugs and the doctor and patient care team had failed to follow safety protocols involving communication and drug labeling designed to prevent such mix-ups. The patient went into cardiac arrest and suffered permanent brain damage.
Philadelphia brain injury attorney Andy Youman represented the family in the resulting Montgomery County case, and he won a $5.1 million jury verdict for the family.
In the worst-case scenarios, medication errors are fatal for patients. Severe health issues connected to taking the incorrect medication or dosage can cause patient death through acute issues such as internal bleeding or organ failure. In other cases, medication errors can cause long-term or chronic health problems that eventually deteriorate the patient’s health to the point where recovery is not possible.
If you tragically lost a loved one because of a fatal medication error in Philadelphia, your family may have the right to file a wrongful death claim in Philadelphia. This type of lawsuit seeks financial compensation for fatal harm caused to a patient due to medical negligence or medical malpractice. In Pennsylvania, the law restricts the right to file a wrongful death claim to a surviving spouse, child or parent.
The damages (financial compensation) available for a fatal medication error may include the decedent’s medical bills until the time of death, reasonable funeral and burial expenses, lost financial contributions, lost comfort and companionship, lost parental guidance for any minor children, and pain and suffering.
Medication errors also come with legal consequences. In Pennsylvania, a patient who has been injured because of a medication error may have the right to bring a personal injury lawsuit against one or more parties. Identifying the liable or at-fault party may require an in-depth investigation by a law firm. Liable parties may include:
In Philadelphia, a successful medical malpractice, product liability or personal injury lawsuit for a medication error (based on the circumstances) could result in financial compensation given to you for your related economic and non-economic damages. If this type of error has injured you, you may be eligible for compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, legal expenses, and more.
A medication error can change your life in many ways as a victim. You may suffer significant injuries that require thousands of dollars in medical care, for example, or someone close to you might have lost his or her life because of a preventable medication error. Whatever your situation may be, it is important to fully understand the value of your case. This can prevent you from accepting a settlement from an insurance company that is too low.
Potential damages for a medication error claim can include:
Punitive damages are awarded in some cases as a means of punishing a defendant for gross negligence or acts of recklessness. These issues go beyond simple medical negligence. In Pennsylvania, state law caps punitive damages at 200% of a plaintiff’s compensatory damages. Case value depends on elements that are unique to each individual, such as injury severity and the insurance coverage available. To determine the potential value of your Philadelphia medication error claim, consult with an attorney.
Hiring a high-quality attorney to represent you during a medical malpractice case in Philadelphia should not put you in a difficult financial position due to legal fees. At Youman & Caputo, we ensure that all wronged patients in Pennsylvania have an affordable option for representation by handling cases on a contingency fee basis. With this payment arrangement, our clients only pay if and when we win their cases and secure financial compensation on their behalf. If you don’t win your case, you won’t pay us a dime.
We charge our attorney’s fees as a percentage of the total settlement or jury verdict achieved for a client, rather than billing our clients directly. You will be informed of our fee rate when we take your case, so that there are no hidden fees or unexpected costs at the end. You will only have to pay us after we successfully secure a settlement or case resolution. We charge $0 upfront to take a new medication error case in Philadelphia. To discuss our fees in more detail, request your free initial case consultation, which comes at no obligation to hire us.
If you experience health problems or symptoms and discover that you have been prescribed or given the incorrect medication or dosage, start taking steps to protect yourself right away. If you plan on bringing a medical malpractice claim for the medication error in Philadelphia, you or your attorney will need to prove your case as the filing party or plaintiff. This means it is your responsibility to establish clear and convincing evidence that a doctor or pharmacist made a mistake and that this is what caused your injuries.
Here’s what to do after a medication error to protect your rights:
The insurance company that receives your claim may not have your best interests in mind when determining the value of your case or offering a settlement. This is why it is important to bring your claim to an experienced medical malpractice attorney in Philadelphia before accepting a settlement or signing anything. An attorney will give you an accurate evaluation of your case’s value and explain your legal rights as a victim of a harmful medication error. You can rest and focus on healing while your catastrophic injury lawyer in Philadelphia handles the steps involved in filing a claim for you.
Hiring the right attorney can make a major difference to your medication error lawsuit in Philadelphia. You should be able to trust your lawyer to handle the legal legwork of your case from beginning to end, including filing your claim and negotiating for fair financial compensation – all while you concentrate on healing from your injuries.
It is important to find an attorney who understands how medication processes work in various settings and who knows the right questions to ask in medication error cases. The attorneys at Youman & Caputo have significant experience in these cases – and the results to show for it. If you or someone you know has suffered a medication error in Philadelphia, contact us today at (215) 302-1999 for a free consultation.
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