Cases of medical malpractice due to prescription mistakes make up a significant part of the 15,000 to 19,000 lawsuits that are filed each year in response to medical errors. Of these lawsuits, more than 12,000 get payouts through jury awards and out of court settlements. The total amount in annual payouts exceeds $3.6 billion.
This is just the tip of what is a very big and hidden iceberg of possible cases. An Institute of Medicine study found that more than 1.5 million Americans suffer every year from errors related to prescriptions. This includes those who fall sick, get injured and even some deaths.
This may happen if the physician prescribes the wrong medication or dosage. In other cases, the hospital staff may have been negligent and not taken into account the impact of allergies or the drug’s possible interaction with other medications. It’s also possible the pharmacy may be responsible for giving the wrong medication.
Another possibility is that the pharmaceutical company which manufactured the drug is responsible. It may be they did not provide the requisite warning labels. It could also be that a batch of drugs coming out of the factory was in some way defective.
Whatever the cause, the bad medication causes the patient to fall sick, suffer from pain or even die. In this case, the malpractice claim against the hospital may be combined with additional product liability claims against the manufacturer. Such cases are much stronger and more likely to result in payouts, often as part of a class-action lawsuit involving multiple victims.
One of the important things to remember about medical malpractice cases is that there is a statute of limitations. If the case is not filed within this period, then the physician, hospital, pharmacy and the drug maker cannot be held legally liable. Another key fact is these cases are built and won based entirely on the evidence available. This means the patient must keep a complete record of all prescriptions and treatments provided.
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