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Can You Sue For a Medication Error at a Hospital?

Nurse preparing hospital medication.

Preventable medication errors are a form of medical negligence

Hospitals have a legal responsibility to practice safe, effective, evidence-based medicine, and an important part of that responsibility is administering the right medications to patients. Unfortunately, that responsibility isn't always met. A recent study found that in hospitals and long-term care facilities, the rate of medication errors is between 8% and 25%. That figure is unacceptably high and highlights the need for accountability for negligent medical facilities.

When hospitals make preventable medication errors that hurt patients, those patients can pursue compensation through the civil justice system. However, proving you were hurt by a preventable medication error can be a difficult process. That's why you need an experienced medical malpractice attorney advocating for your rights.

How medication errors happen in hospitals

There are several ways hospitals can make medication errors that hurt patients, including:

  • Administering the incorrect dosage: Giving a patient too much of a medication can result in a dangerous overdose, while giving too little can cause their medical condition to get worse because of inadequate treatment. Dosing errors are especially common when the patient is a child because finding the right dosage based on age and weight requires careful attention from doctors.
  • Failing to account for medication allergies: An allergic reaction to a medication can cause severe complications. Hospitals need to ask about medication allergies and communicate this information to every doctor and nurse who treats that patient.
  •  Look-alike sound-alike (LASA) medications: Many medications have similar names and similar appearances, which can lead to the wrong medication being administered. Medical professionals need to carefully double-check to ensure they are administering the correct medication.
  • Administering medication by the wrong route: The "route" refers to the manner in which a medication is administered, such as oral (e.g., swallowing a pill), sublingual (under the tongue), intravenous, intramuscular, inhalation, and more. The body absorbs medications differently depending on the route, so administering by the wrong route can lead to unpredictable and dangerous results.
  • Failing to account for medication interactions: Sometimes, a patient is harmed not by an individual medication, but by a combination of medications that causes a dangerous interaction. Hospitals are responsible for checking for known interactions before they administer medication.
  • Administering medication to the wrong patient: In the hospital context, where doctors and nurses work rotating shifts and patients are in and out throughout the day, it's critical to double-check that the right medication is being administered to the right patient.

Our law firm holds hospitals accountable for medication errors

When a patient is seriously injured or killed due to a medication error, there must be accountability. Getting to the bottom of what happened and why, however, can be a challenging task. That's why victims and their families need a law firm with the experience and resources to thoroughly investigate medication errors and hold negligent doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals accountable.

The Lancione Law Firm in Cleveland has a winning track record in medical malpractice cases throughout Ohio, including a $10 million recovery for the family of a patient who died after being given the wrong medication in the hospital. If you were injured or lost a loved one due to a medical error, give us a call or contact us online for a free and confidential consultation.

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