Liability for Improper Administration of Medication in Georgia Hospitals


March 15, 2015

Our Atlanta medical malpractice attorneys at Montlick and Associates recognize that negligent medical care can take many forms in a hospital setting.  One of the most common and preventable forms of medical malpractice in a hospital involves improper administration of medications.  This type of mistake can occur in a number of different scenarios, but patients generally do not experience drug administration errors unless a health care professional is negligent.

Although medication errors are preventable if hospitals and health care professionals adopt and implement proper protocols, the number of drug administration errors is significant.  Approximately, 400,000 drug-related injuries occur in hospitals in a typical year.  The costs associated with the additional treatment needed to correct these errors has been estimated to be as much as $3.5 billion.  Further, studies have shown that medication errors cause the death of approximately 100,000 people per year. 

The most frequent form of drug errors in hospitals are dosage errors.  This type of mistake can be particularly dangerous when the indicated dosage includes a misplaced decimal point.  If a dosage is listed with a decimal one column to the right, a patient would receive ten times the quantity of a drug than the actual intended amount.  Depending on the medication, this type of mistake could cause devastating injury or death.

When a doctor prescribes a drug that is contraindicated based on the patient’s condition, this is another common and potentially dangerous medical mistake.  A medication can be contraindicated for a number of reasons.  For example, certain medications can be harmful to patients with a specific medical condition, such as, high blood pressure, heart conditions or liver damage.  Further, some drugs interact dangerously, so a patient already taking one medication should not be prescribed another drug that cannot be taken safely in combination with the first medication.  Another example of this type of drug administration error involves drugs that are not safe for women who are pregnant.

Sometimes hospitals confuse medications and provide a drug other than the one that has been indicated by the doctor.  A nurse or pharmacy in a hospital can mix up drugs that have names that are similar.  When the patient receives the wrong drug in this situation, the mistake can harm the patient in a number of ways.  First, the patient is not receiving the medication needed to treat the underlying medical condition that brought the patient to the hospital in the first place.  Second, the drug being administered could cause harm in other ways, such as interacting adversely with other drugs, triggering drug allergies or causing damage because of an existing medical condition.

While administration of a drug to the wrong patient is a less common form of medical malpractice, these errors do occur.  A medication may be ordered for a particular patient but indicated on the chart for another patient.  While hospitals typically implement medication reconciliation protocols to avoid harming a patient in this way, a patient who takes the wrong medication over a prolonged period can suffer severe consequences.

Put Our Law Firm's Over 30 Years of Legal Experience to Work For Your Case

If you or a close family member is injured because of a medication errors in a hospital, our experienced Atlanta medical malpractice lawyers might be able to help.  Montlick and Associates has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast for over thirty years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.  No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333).  You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.  

 

Source: 

http://www.pharmqd.com/node/121320/lesson


Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.