Medical Malpractice/Prescription Errors in New York & New Jersey
When people are sick or injured and they depend on nurses and doctors to use their knowledge to make them better. When healthcare providers do more harm than good, however, by making a negligent error with a patient’s medication, those who turned to them for help can experience significant injuries and even death.
If you or a family member was a victim of medical malpractice in a hospital, such as suffering the effects of the wrong prescription medication or were not properly monitored following a surgical procedure, you could be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries.
What is a Medication Error?
According to the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention, a medication error is any preventable circumstance that can cause or lead to the use of improper medication or patient injury while the medicine is under the control of a consumer, patient, or health care professional. These events can be related to health care products, professional practice, systems, and procedures, including order communication, prescribing, packaging, product labeling, compounding, nomenclature, distribution, dispensing, education, usage, and monitoring.
The odds of a medication error are much higher for patients who have multiple medical conditions for which they are taking medication. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 82% of adults in the United States take at least one medication on a daily basis and 29% take five or more. With so many medications to keep track of, it isn’t hard to see how a patient could make a mistake. Trained healthcare professionals, however, are responsible for 1.3 million injuries and deaths each year due to pharmacy and prescription errors.
Medication Errors and Adverse Drug Events
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a medication error is an error of omission or commission during any stage of the process between a medical professional prescribing medication and the patient receiving it.
An adverse drug event causes harm to a patient by exposure to a medication. An adverse drug event does not necessarily mean that a mistake was made or negligence occurred.
How Often Do Medication Errors Happen in the United States?
There are over 10,000 medications available via prescription in the United States. Additionally, close to one-third of all adults nationwide take five or more prescription medications on a daily basis. With numbers this large, it makes sense that medication errors are going to occur. It is shocking to learn, however, how frequently hospital patients are injured when healthcare providers are negligent regarding prescription medications.
If you or a family member was the victim of a hospital’s medication error, we urge you to have a lawyer investigate if negligence played a role and the incident could have been avoided.
Please contact the New York and New Jersey prescription error attorneys at Metro Law today for assertive and compassionate legal representation. We will work diligently to ensure your family receives the maximum amount of compensation allowed by law.
Most Common Medication Errors in New Jersey and New York Hospitals
The most common prescription error, according to the Food and Drug Administration, is administering an incorrect dosage of medicine. Incorrect dosing accounts for 41% of deaths caused by medication errors with the highest amount of risk being placed on the elderly. There are a number of prescription errors that can occur. Some of the more common include:
- Prescription Choice: When a healthcare provider chooses a medication to which the patient has a documented allergy or is contraindicated with their existing medications.
- Dosage and Delivery: Errors in the dosage given, the way it was administered, or the speed at which it was delivered.
- Instruction Mistakes: The physician’s orders were not followed because their instructions were not clear. This includes prescriptions that are illegible and the doctor giving incorrect instructions.
- Error of Omission: If a dose of medication is missed or drugs are not administered according to schedule, serious injuries and deaths can occur.
- Unlawful Administration: Only licensed healthcare workers are allowed to dispense medication. If a person other than a licensed individual administered or prescribed the drug, it could be deemed medical malpractice.
- Defective Product: When the administered medication is expired or the chemical components have been otherwise compromised.
- Monitoring Errors: After specific medications are administrated, the patient’s reaction has to be closely monitored.
Most Common Causes of New Jersey and New York Medication Errors
There are numerous factors that can result in medication errors including:
- Unclear or incorrect communication between physicians, or between physicians and nursing staff
- Unclear or incorrect communication between doctor and patient
- Unclear or incorrect medical abbreviations
- Failure to take a patient’s medical history into account
- Mix-ups involving medications with similar-sounding names
Medication errors can take place at any time during patient care. If this should happen, you need a skilled prescription error attorney from Metro Law on your side to fight the mistakes made by nurses, physicians, pharmacists, and hospitals. We will do everything in our power to ensure that you collect the maximum amount of compensation allowed under New Jersey and New York law.
You deserve financial compensation for certain situations, such as:
- When a physician writes a prescription for a medication, they are expected to make educated choices about the drug and its dosage according to the patient’s condition, medical history, etc. When the wrong medication is prescribed, or the pharmacist is unable to properly interpret the doctor’s orders, severe injuries and death can result.
- Pharmacists are required to check and re-check orders prior to filling a prescription and, after they have filled the order, are required to ensure the correct dosage of the correct drug is being dispensed. Even the smallest oversight on the part of the pharmacy is a recipe for tragedy.
- Nurses must regularly check a patient’s chart to make sure the doctor’s orders have not changed and adhere to protocol concerning timely administration of the proper dosage of the right drug. In the event that the patient is given the wrong medication, the incorrect dosage, or given another patient’s medication by mistake, catastrophic problems can develop.
- Anytime a medical professional gives a patient medication they must make multiple assessments to assure that the right patient is receiving the correct medications at the proper time.
- In addition, contraindications and allergies have to be taken into account throughout the entire process and by every healthcare worker. Giving a patient a drug they are allergic to can have fatal results. Prescribing medications that do mix with other drugs can cause serious medical problems.
If at any point, even one of these steps is not adequately completed, it can result in severe harm, serious personal injury, or death to the patient. Mistakes often happen. When medical professionals are overrun with patients, have not had enough time to sleep, or are improperly trained, avoidable medication errors can and do happen.
Exacerbating Factors in Prescription Errors
Some of the issues that arise in clinics, doctors’ offices, pharmacies, and hospitals are pervasive in today’s society. Physicians, nurses, pharmacists, assistants, and other medical professionals work long shifts with little to no breaks in a high-pressure environment fraught with interruptions.
Pharmacies in particular are beset with improperly trained assistants who are expected to learn on the job. The pharmacists charged with overseeing trainees are often far too busy to do so.
Prescriptions and Healthcare Provider Responsibilities
It is vital that patients and their carers are made aware of the consequences and potential risks of taking their particular medications. They are given written information when their prescriptions are dispensed, however, it is often technical and confusing.
Simply providing a patient with written information does not absolve the provider of their responsibility to keep patients informed and ensure they understand the possible side effects and risks of their medications. It also does not negate the pharmacist’s, pharmacy’s, or healthcare provider’s duty to make sure that none of the medications taken by a patient are contraindicated.
What Are My Rights?
If your doctor or pharmacist was negligent in filling, administering, or prescribing medication and you sustained an injury, New Jersey personal injury laws entitle you to seek financial compensation for your injuries and associated damages. The prescription error medication lawyers at Metro Law can help you by reviewing your potential claim and advising you of your legal options.
What is the Time Limit for Filing a Medical Negligence Claim in New York and New Jersey?
The legal time limit for filing a medical malpractice claim, known as the statute of limitations, is two years from the date of the injury. This clock does not start ticking until the injury is discovered or should have been discovered under reasonable circumstances. In cases of death caused by medical malpractice, the claim must be filed within two years of the date of the victim’s passing.
If you were injured due to a medication error, it is important that you reach out to an experienced New York or New Jersey medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible so that we can open an investigation and develop a solid case that will win you the compensation you deserve.
Our New Jersey and New York medical malpractice team consults with leading independent medical specialists to analyze your situation and prepare the strongest claim possible for full economic recovery for your prescription drug injury.
What Kind of Compensation is Available to Me?
The results of your individual claim hinge on how well you and your attorney are able to establish medical negligence and the damages it has caused you. For the most precise estimate of the value of your case, speak with a reputable medication error lawyer about your case.
Most victims do not realize exactly how much financial compensation they are entitled to collect from a medication error but, based on the seriousness of your injury or illness, how long it lasts, and who was found negligent, our legal team could obtain substantial settlements to compensate victims for:
- Medical costs
- Nursing care and rehabilitation
- Disfigurement or disability
- Loss of past and future income
- Emotional anguish and physical pain
- Loss of companionship
- Wrongful death
Even if you are unsure if your case is valid, you should still consult with our prescription error lawyers. We take the time to listen to your side of the story and assess your unique situation. We will be straightforward about your chances of a settlement and do our best to get sizeable damages for you and your family.
New Jersey and New York Personal Injury Attorneys
It stands to reason that if a medical error, particularly one concerning medication, was avoidable, then failing to avoid the errors that caused it may be grounds for legal action. You and your loved ones should not have to suffer because a nurse, doctor, or other medical professional made a mistake.
The attorneys at Metro Law fight for victims, such as you and your family, who have been affected by negligence and abuse in nursing homes, hospitals, pharmacies, and other healthcare facilities.
We will fight for your right to see justice and financial compensation for your injuries. We will do everything in our power to hold the liable party responsible for the injuries and harm they have caused you. Contact the New Jersey and New York prescription error attorneys Metro Law by calling (973) 721-9984.